Just over three years ago there was great excitement when geologists in Canada discovered volcanic rocks which they considered to be about 4 billion years old. This made them, apparently, the oldest rocks in the earth. In the news a couple of years ago much attention was given to the small human being found in Indonesia and described as a “Hobbit”; it was said to be about 18,000 years old. At the end of last year there was an article on the BBC website about the fossilised trail of a giant scorpion found in Scotland, in rocks supposed to be about 330 million years old. About a month ago the BBC reported on a fossil of a beaver-like creature found in China. It was estimated to be about 164 million years old.
Scientists want to know how old things are because they think they can then get closer to answering the question, How old is the Earth? The answer is relatively straightforward. By considering the history of the world, starting at creation week in Genesis and going right through the Bible to the present, the age of the earth has been calculated to be about 6,000 years.
Why then is the age of fossils and rocks, or the age of the Earth, given in tens of thousands, millions or even billions of years, as in the examples at the start of this article? The main reason for this drive to make the age of the Earth so large is that evolutionists need huge periods of time in order to have any hope of their ideas working out. In previous articles we looked at natural selection and mutations. According to evolutionists, billions of years are required to give time for all the supposed mutations in simple organisms to occur and for natural selection to work on them to produce, at last, complex organisms. So evolutionists conclude that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.
Evolutionary scientists assume lots of theories to be true when they develop the tests they use to try to work out the age of things; they use these tests to piece together their ideas about when the universe came into existence. Carbon dating is one of these tests. However, it is less than reliable.
Carbon dating works on the basis that a radioactive form of carbon (carbon 14) decays over time. When scientists want to find the age of an object, they test to find out the percentage of radioactive carbon in it and compare it with the percentage of the other form of carbon (carbon 12). They then work out how long it would have taken for the radioactive carbon to fall to that level compared with the current levels of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere. The older the object is, the smaller the percentage of radio active carbon, because this means that there has been more time for the radioactive carbon to decay.
The main difficulty with this method of testing is that it assumes that the level of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere has been constant. But it is more than likely that this was not the case. For instance, the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century would lower the percentage of radioactive carbon. The testing of atomic bombs in the 1950s would increase the level. There would also have been significant changes in the atmosphere after the Genesis flood.
Indeed many results from carbon dating have turned out to be seriously flawed. For instance, some mortar taken from a section of an Oxford castle built about 800 years ago was dated by this method at 7,370 years. Shells from living snails in Nevada were carbon-dated at 2,700 years old. And a seal which had recently died appeared to be 1,300 years old when it was tested in this way.
Evolutionists resort to the usual excuses, claiming exceptional circumstances; they state that they are aware of the problems and take them into account when they are doing their calculations. One professor who believes in evolution went so far as to say, “If a carbon-14 date supports our theories we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely ‘out of date’, we just drop it.”
But there is scientific evidence which fits in with the timeframe of biblical creation. This evidence supports the 6,000 years of the Bible rather than the evolutionist’s billions of years. A few of these evidences are listed in the rest of this article, but there are many others.
It has been found that processes relating to rocks and fossils do not need thousands or millions of years, in spite of what evolutionists claim. There are many examples of stalactites and stalagmites being formed in short periods of time, in spite of what evolutionists claim. In a cave in New Mexico a dead bat fell on a stalagmite. It was cemented into the stalagmite showing that the stalagmite grew faster than the bat decomposed. Researchers at laboratories in Chicago have produced high-grade black coal by mixing wood, water and clay at 150 degrees Celsius for several weeks – not thousands of years! Some people think it takes millions of years to form opal, but one Australian researcher makes it himself by mixing the right chemicals together.
The continents are eroding quickly. If they truly were billions of years old there would be nothing left of them today – assuming, of course, that the rate of erosion did not change much. From this erosion, which has supposedly been happening for billions of years, you would expect the mud on the seafloor to be several kilometres thick, choking up the oceans. Instead it is only 400 metres deep. Henry Morris, who wrote the book, The Genesis Flood, studied the amount of salt in the oceans. He discovered that there was much less salt and other minerals than would be expected if they had been added to the oceans at the same rate for billions of years.
There is also the fact that the population of the world is small enough to fit into the biblical timeframe. The number of people is much smaller than you would expect if you believed evolutionary ideas of when mankind first appeared and if you take into account the way the population is growing.
So evolutionists cannot produce scientific evidence which proves the age which they claim for the Earth. Nor can creationists produce evidence that is so definite that no one can argue against it. But we do have the firm basis of the Word of God, and the evidence that exists fits easily into that framework. God is eternal; He has always existed and always will. And we are to praise Him for this, knowing that “before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting, Thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).
S M Campbell
This was the sixth article in a series entitled “How Did It All Begin?”, and was first published in the April 2006 issue of The Young People’s Magazine. The previous article in the series can be found at this link.