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Some christians believe the Earth is only 6000 to 12,000 years old. Where does this age originate from?

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Possible duplicate of christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1384/… –  DTest Aug 31 '11 at 16:19
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@DTest it's the same subject, but the first 2 questions are different. The last part about fossils is definitely the same, though. –  a_hardin Aug 31 '11 at 16:22
    
I removed the fossil part of the question since it is a duplicate. –  a_hardin Aug 31 '11 at 16:34
    
We have two questions, where one would suffice. Suggest retaining only "How is a young age of the earth calculated?" –  djeikyb Aug 31 '11 at 17:57
    
This has devolved into pointless speculation, arguments, and a throng of strawmen. If anyone has a reasonable argument for why "what do Christians think" questions have value here, let's hear it. –  Shog9 Aug 31 '11 at 21:14

4 Answers 4

No, this is not a universal belief. Some do not take the days in Genesis as literal, and some treat Paradise (as described in Genesis) as being a spiritual world rather than being the same 'world' which we measure with carbon dating and other physical measures.

The 6000 years is roughly discerned using clues from stories in the Bible, but there are other measures placing its age closer to 7500 years.

What is generally used is the following:

  • Length of 'day' in Genesis 1
  • Length of time figures in Genesis lived
  • Ages are added by using 'and in so-and-so's xth year, so-and-so was born' (and variations thereof)
  • History / chronicle books have king-dynasty lengths.

It's a lot of work to do, really.

Variations in measures can be explained by differing interpretations of 'day' in Genesis, whether 'in the xth year of y' means that x years preceeded it or x-1 years, and estimates of times not explicitly mentioned.

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Could you add some detail about what clues were used to discern this age? –  hammar Aug 31 '11 at 16:20
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Most Christians do not believe that the Earth is only 6-12 thousand years old. –  DJClayworth Aug 31 '11 at 16:20
    
If most Christians don't believe the young age theory, then where do Adam and Eve fit into the timeline? –  Cavere Mendacia Aug 31 '11 at 16:30
    
@hammar 1. days of genesis, 2. lengths of time Genesis figures lived, 3. time lengths from the history/record books (numbers,joshua,samuel,kings,chronicles, etc). –  RiverC Aug 31 '11 at 16:30
    
@RiverC: I think a short summary of how those clues are used to calculate this number would make a great addition to your answer, if you have the time and knowledge to do so. –  hammar Aug 31 '11 at 16:33

The "young earth" figure comes from treating the descriptions of the creation of the earth in Genesis as a literal, continuous, description of earth history. It's fairly simple to do the calculation, adding up the ages of each person described, and concluding how long ago Adam and Eve happened. It was most famously done by Archbishop James Ussher.

Most Christians do not believe that the earth is that age, but a substantial minority (mainly in the US) do. See Wikipedia.

The discussion of the evidences for and against is far too complex to give even a summary here.

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Can you explain how It's fairly simple to do the calculation? I know passages which explain who lived how long, a lot of them several hundret years long, and who is the son of whom, but not at what age of the father the son was born. And it is in an early part of the bible. But maybe you can show, for example, the line from King David to Jesus, if it is fairly simple, or show, how James Ussher did it? –  user unknown Aug 31 '11 at 16:52
    
Not so simple that I would want to do it, but certainly possible. The point is that even with really bad mistakes the answer is only going to change by a few thousand years, and will fall within the 6000-12000 range. And yes, the technique is simply to add up the ages at which each person gave birth to their son. –  DJClayworth Aug 31 '11 at 16:56
    
According to (1 Mos 5,3), Adam lived 930 years. And different from what I remembered, the age, when they beget their sons, is mentioned. But 1 Mos is one of the early books from the bible, so it can't lead to the later figures. –  user unknown Aug 31 '11 at 17:23
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@user unknown The usual name of the first book of Moses is "Genesis", so "Genesis 5:3". –  DJClayworth Aug 31 '11 at 18:05
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@user unknown I'm pretty confident that it's the same for most of English-speaking Christianity. –  DJClayworth Aug 31 '11 at 19:52

I'm a young earth creationist.

No, not all Christians maintain this belief. Christians can identify themselves with two different categories, Young Earth Creationist (YEC) or Old Earth Creationist (OEC).

As a YEC believe that God is more then capable of creating everything in six days and that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. As a YEC my argument originates from the following beliefs.

The flood event

The Bible talks about a huge flood about ~4,500 years ago. IF you look for the evidence of this flood you'll see that there's actually a lot of evidence. Walt Brown has done some great research on this topic. He holds true to scripture and does not deny any verses.

The reason that I mention this flood, is because the flood did some major devastation to this planet when it occurred. In young earth creationist POV we see that the sediment layers, massive fossil deposits and more where created because of this flood. The continental shelves and the oceans were also created because of the flood event.

Chemical dating

The only evidence that one has of an earth that's millions of years old is chemical dating. One thing that has recently been learned about chemical dating, is that if things are left in water then that thing's chemical dates will show the thing to be much older then it actually is.

Well, if all fossilized animals that we're finding today were put there due to a large flood, then it would make sense that the chemical dating shows those fossils to be older then what they actually are.

Population

More evidence of young earth is given by our current population numbers. If we're the product of millions of years of evolution then we would see an obvious over population issue. But we don't see that, have you ever driven through Wyoming? We're not overpopulated. The entire human race could fit into the state of Virginia with room.

If you do a backwards calculation of our current population you find a small group of people ~4k to 6k years ago.

Planetary decay

I use the word decay very vagly here. The moon is drifting away from our planet. One million years ago and the moon would have been touching the earth. The sun is shrinking because of the constant amount of gases being burned. One million years ago and the sun would have been so hot that no life could have existed on earth. The planet is losing is magnetic field. People chalk this up to some kind of polar shift, which has never been seen or reproduced on any magnetic, ever.

We have NEVER witnessed a single star forming, know of one that has recently formed or even know how it would be possible. Scientists calculate that it would be impossible for debris to crush together to form a planet. They have no idea how this could happen. Granite is the same way, there's no way to create granite, it's impossible to have formed from molten lava.

conclusion

IMHO, those of weak faith believe in man and those with stronger faith believe God. To answer your question, THIS IS WHY some Christians believe in young earth.

When voting on this comment do not downvote because you disagree, as this is not an arguement as to whether or not I'm right. This is merely an answer to the question "Do I maintain a belief that the earth is young, and why."

I'M NOT DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT THESE ARE FACTS.

Again.. I'm not stating these as facts, I'm stating them as my beliefs as a YEC.

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I think this should be reworded. Right now it comes off as a bit preachy. This site is supposed to answer factual questions about christianity, not to address whether or not these are true. It would be better to describe this objectively. Many of the "scientific" claims here are not widely accepted by the scientific community. They should not be stated as fact. However it's fine to state that these views are generally accepted by young earth creationists, as that is likely a fact. Also, some sources would be nice. –  hammar Aug 31 '11 at 17:14
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"The entire human race could fit into the state of Virginia with room." really no. On so many levels, no. –  Marc Gravell Aug 31 '11 at 17:45
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Your points about lunar drift, dating, etc should not be presented as "fact". They conflict with a vast body of scientific argument, and have been deeply challenged by fellow professionals in the associated fields. At best they are "competing proposed ideas" on those topics. It is misleading to present them "as is" without openly admitting that they are deeply contested. –  Marc Gravell Aug 31 '11 at 17:48
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There is just so much wrong with this answer, for one it is radiometric dating, not chemical dating and the confounding factors are pretty well known and corrected for. The problems with the other parts Marc already mentioned. Your Virginia comparison is also deeply misleading, as the maximum population of Earth is certainly not the number of people you can just fit on there. –  Mad Scientist Aug 31 '11 at 18:48
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The potassium-argon method is a radiometric dating method, calling it chemical dating is wrong and very misleading. Those methods rely on nuclear decay, that is pure physics, it has nothing at all to do with chemistry. –  Mad Scientist Aug 31 '11 at 19:00

As mentioned elsewhere, the Young Earth belief comes from a literal reading of Genesis.

Problems do arise when we try to insert the day-age theory. Assume for a moment that one day is 100 million years. The symbiotic relationships in creation would be separated by hundreds of millions of years.

Additionally, if Adam was created on the sixth day, and the sixth day is 100 million years, if we trace down from his line, we would still be in the sixth day... or, if he was created on the last moment on the sixth day, we would still be early on the 7th day.

Also, why would we ever read 'day' and think 'millions of years'. The only reason would be what we have heard from scientists. However, every person is biased and brings that to bear upon the conclusions they draw. Darwinism is a theory based on assumptions that cannot be proven.

Several pieces of evidence for a young earth are based on the fact that things are wearing out:

  • The distance of the moon from the earth. It is gradually retreating from the earth, but if you extrapolate back 4 billion years, it would be inside the earth.
  • The length of a day - the rotation of the earth is slowing down. In the past, it would have been faster. If you go back 4 billion years, it's spinning so fast, that nothing could live.
  • The Earth's Magnetic field is diminishing over time. 4.5 billion years ago, it would have been so strong that nothing could survive.

The list goes on and on. So, there is a biblical reason to believe in a young earth. Science has failed to prove evolution or deal with the problems mentioned here as well as numerous others.

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How does this address the question? You are arguing the merits of young vs old creation instead of answering "Do [all] christians maintain a belief that the earth is relatively young?" –  djeikyb Aug 31 '11 at 17:36
    
The second question was "Where does this originate from?". I mentioned it comes from a literal meaning of Genesis, and then I expounded on the biblical and scientific reasons for that. –  Narnian Aug 31 '11 at 18:11
    
Aye, and so I didn't downvote. Really, the question is bad because it asks too many things. I proposed an edit to the question limiting it to what you answered. If it is accepted, I'll delete my comments here. –  djeikyb Aug 31 '11 at 18:14
    
Cambrian Explosion a problem for the evolution theory. –  FMShyanguya yesterday

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