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According to Answers in Genesis, the flood happened in approximately 2348 BC, which means it would've happened about 4360 years ago. Wikipedia has a list of the oldest individual trees known, of which three are older than 4360 years (one that was cut down was [at least] 4,844 years old).

The Flood clearly should've killed all of the trees that were around at the time. Yet, these trees were definitely around before the Flood happened. So, how do Bible Literalists deal with this issue? How do they explain the fact that we have trees older than the Flood?

Note: this is indirectly related to Young Earth Creationism as the calculated age of the Earth (about 6,016 years) depends on the date of creation.

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

If it is a scientific certainty that a tree create one and only one ring per year, then this would be problematic. However, as you can read on Wikipedia, this is not always the case:

Alternating poor and favorable conditions, such as mid summer droughts, can result in several rings forming in a given year. Wikipedia

So, it would only take conditions to produce two rings in less than 1 out of 9 years to make up for the "missing" 500 years. So, the 4,844 rings (not years) appears to be within a reasonable variation to place the actual germination of the tree to be just after the flood.

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It is the same faulty reasoning with the ice rings in the Arctic. People who do not know what actually causes the ice rings will say that one ring is one year, therefore, the Arctic ice is 300 something thousand years old. The fact is that one thaw and one freeze creates an ice ring. During the spring and fall you can get multiple freezes and thaws per day. – fredsbend Apr 2 '13 at 17:45
@fredsbend Yes. It's interesting that no one finds trees that are 10,000 years old or 50,000 years old. They are all approximately 4400 years old... – Narnian Jun 3 '13 at 13:29

Assuming your date for creation and delta to the flood are correct, one way is to say the tree was not uprooted or killed by the flood. Perhaps it went dormant, as in winter. (If that fails, there's always supernatural preservation.)

After all, the dove brought back the olive branch as the sign that things were growing again shortly after the flood. So there is at least one tree that was not destroyed.

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Or that tree grew after the waters receded. That seems more likely. – fredsbend Apr 2 '13 at 17:44

There are alternative Bible theories which answer the question of the age of trees and other seemingly disagreeable facts without discounting the fact itself.

Gen 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.

Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Gen 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

These scriptures all use the same Hebrew word for land and earth to describe the events during the lives of Noah first then Abraham. Its obvious by the text that while Abraham did walk the entire earth according to the text he did not cover the entire planet. Likewise while the flood did cover the entire earth it may not have covered the entire planet and at least one literal theory says it didn't. There are many other instances of the phrase "whole earth" predominantly being used in reference to the known earth rather than the entire planet in both Old Testament and New Testament.

In short while the word literally says "whole earth" concerning Noah and that must be true from the literal perspective. However we are allowed to question which "whole earth" is being referred to in order to have an understanding of what is literally written.

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The argument that the flood is global isn't based solely on the word 'earth'. The fundamental argument is that it must be a judgement on all human life, or else the covenant doesn't work. – curiousdannii May 19 '14 at 21:18

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