I some times wonder when God made the garden, to beautify it, the trees for example must have been differing height and width.  Therefore, assuming a literal 7 day creation, if Adam were to cut a tree, the day after he was created, would he have found thick trees with several rings? 

Would Adam really be able to determine how old the world was studying rocks, trees, etc.? Was science prevented from ever understanding creation by virtue of its incomprehensible design on day one?

Would a rock's radioactive print seem like a billions years old, when only one day old? How would a fully created universe seem like a day old? Would not some things appear to have started motion long ago to reach the place where they were created?

That is a lot of questions but it is really one: 'Could Adam calculate the age of the earth using science?'

  • He could at least calculate how old he was... and he certainly looked much older than that, but may not have realized that until Cain was born. – Narnian Jun 22 '12 at 16:53

I'm going to say that he probably couldn't. Naturally, I admit the very real possibility of being wrong.

I use Occam's Razor when it comes to determining which scenario is more likely. There are similar questions to "Did the first trees have rings (correlating to actual years of existence)?" Did Adam and Even have navels? It's impossible to say for sure, but they certainly didn't need to have them. To look at Adam moments after he was created (not knowing how he came into being), you would be reasonable to assume that he was once a child and his body would probably show evidence of having lived to adulthood. Even though that would be reasonable, it seems simpler to me to think that God didn't create any sort of false history for Adam, the trees, fossilized creatures, etc. I would guess that Adam had perfectly clear skin without callouses, scars, or any remnants of a childhood he didn't have. Similarly, trees' rings would not correlate to actual years of existence, though God could have (and I'll guess did) created full grown trees with rings.

God is certainly able to provide evidence suggesting a past when there wasn't really one. Whether the appearance of a past is proof that there actually was one is another matter altogether.

Naturally, the right answer may not be simple, but until I see a compelling reason to go with something more complicated, I'm going to stick with simple (and elegant).

Short Answer: Adam could extrapolate how old the earth appeared, but it wouldn't have been the actual age of the earth (given your assumption of a literal seven-day creation).

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  • Which makes things interesting when it say that 'Adam lived so many years, and then he died...' - when did the count start, Day 7, or when he left the Garden? And along with tree rings - consider that otherwise it would take millions (or more!) of years for the light from stars to get here... – Clockwork-Muse Jun 22 '12 at 22:32
  • @mojo - like the Ocham Razot thing never heard of that. I simply thing Gid would not have revealed how the earth was created if man could calculate it Revelation is only made for things that man would otherwise never know. Cheers. – Mike Jun 23 '12 at 3:47

For the sake of not getting into an argument, let's assume a genesis / biblical creation, literal/YEC-style. The "trees/rings" thing is pretty much unanswerable, but fortunately we don't even need to know anything about the garden of Eden / Adam, because what we do have is the light from other stars, for which we have good confidence for the distance / trajectory / etc. Under the laws of physics, the light has been travelling for many millions of years (indeed, the Hubble experts claim to have light from one 13 billion years ago).

This leaves us two conclusions inside a YEC/literal genesis:

  • the universe was made fully "with age", so no: you wouldn't have been able to use science to "age" it (see also, Last Thursdayism)
  • the laws of physics have been significantly changed, so no: you wouldn't have been able to use science to "age" it

(or of course the option that Genesis is not a reliable source of creation information)

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  • @MarcGravell- Sometimes I think we ask ourselves the odd questions. Has anyone tried to build a model with the assumption of infinite power, then figured out how to created everything while leaving an 'age print'. Seems like there is no starting point to contrive such a thing. When I think of God versus myself, I think of a dog listening to his master mumble about a recent brain surgery he attempted. Multiply this difference in intelligence by an initial magnitude by 13 billion then we can start to imagine that Hubble experts are just fury cute animals barking. God must think that is cute. – Mike Jun 25 '12 at 14:47
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    It seems to me that under the "false age" hypothesis, God would be under no particular obligation to present a consistent false age, if all he wanted was for Eden to have adult trees and so on. The fact that our observations of radiation, starlight, etc., present a consistent picture narrows it down to either the universe is genuinely that old, or someone has gone to a lot of effort to make it look consistently old. If these observations led to wildly different accounts of the age of the world then YEC would look a lot stronger! – James T Jun 25 '12 at 14:50
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    @JamesT no, that would suggest something is broken in the tests. To jump from there to "God did it" is a God-of-the-gaps error. An unknown doesn't "support" YEC – Marc Gravell Jun 25 '12 at 17:22
  • FYI, William Paley is the name I typically associate with the "the universe was created with apparent age" theory. – Affable Geek Jul 9 '12 at 1:02

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