Why Do We Believe in a Young Earth? #2 (Dr. Andrew Snelling)
Topic: Midweek Sermons
Alright, for the benefit of, well, most of you weren't here last week, so that gives me the opportunity to do some revision and for everyone else who was here last week, this will be a test to see if you remember it. But it is important to deal with these foundational principles because too often people don't stop to think, we need to remind ourselves how do we know anything for sure? How is it that we know anything is for real? And particularly when it comes to the past, we only have the present to observe. We can't go back to the past. And we need to also ask ourselves no matter how much we think we know, there is an infinite amount, much more that we don't know. So anything that I know is just a drop in the bucket compared with what God knows and so, as I've said here, the only way we can be sure about anything is if we know someone who existed in the past who knows everything, who is totally reliable, objective and trustworthy and he's told us, and of course, that's what God's word is. He's told us what happened in the past. He is to be trusted. He can be trusted. So the details in this book matter and they matter in so many different ways.
So our starting point has to be that God's word is true in its entirety. As we are told, the Psalmist said, "Your word is true from the beginning." And another aspect, as I said last week, is that too many I find, too many who are full of their own learning and knowledge are flippant about God's word, in fact question God's word. We are reminded in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. So all our thinking must start in God's word, in reverence to God, as the one who know everything, has never told lies, always tells the truth, has always existed. So when we come to explore the world around us, that God's word is our starting point. It must be because without it we could never be sure we know anything about what happened in the past because we weren't there.
The scientists weren't there. Too often they make so many pronouncements and what I find sad is that so many Christian academics want to apply what the worldly scientists say and add it to the Bible, but they forget that the worldly scientists have built their whole framework of understanding the world on ignoring God's word. So the general scientific community uses unscriptural, ungodly assumptions to build their scientific models. If we apply those to God's word, we're applying ungodly assumptions and that should disturb us. Again, we all have the same facts: we have the same world, the same rocks, the same fossils, the same plants and animals to study, and we do the same science. Everyone observes the world around us to make observations and try to understand the way the world is today.
Ultimately this issue about the age of the earth, about our origins, is not just an issue about science. In fact, it really isn't ultimately an issue about science. Many Christians ask, "Just give me the evidence. You know, I just want that silver bullet that I can use to shoot down the opposition. Just that one piece of evidence which will settle the argument the Bible is true after all." But the Bible doesn't need the confirmation, in a sense, from science. The Bible has been established from eternity. It's God's word.
But the term "evidence" needs, you have to be very careful about semantics because what most people call evidence is, in fact, observations which is the real things you can taste and touch and see and handle, but they interpret it. Evidence, they have applied an interpretation. So for example, to say the rocks are millions of years old, you don't observe labels on the rocks saying, "Hi, I'm millions of years old." They do chemical analyses, as we'll see in a moment, and apply an interpretation to those chemical analyses to give you an age. So evidence is often based on interpretation and that interpretation is based on assumptions. You have to believe about something that's in the present and extrapolate it back, as we'll see in a moment. So you're always going to be making assumptions.
As I said before, the rocks do not speak for themselves. You don't read the rocks but except in the light of theories. People, the scientists go to the rocks with previous beliefs that they impose on the rocks and so ultimately this is a battle about beliefs that people have that they bring to the real world data. So everyone starts, we have the same rocks and fossils. Everyone has different starting assumptions and they end up with different interpretations. After all, how is it that you can have two geologists standing at the Grand Canyon and both have two different views about how the Grand Canyon formed? It's the same Grand Canyon. What's different? They're looking at the Grand Canyon each with a different sent of mental glasses. They have different ideas up here that they impose on the rocks and the fossils and that's why we have to understand these issues and not be intimidated by what people say to us because we should be asking ourselves are they starting with God's word or not? If they're not starting with God's word, we have to question their conclusions.
As I've said, too many people think that this is a matter of just sorting out different evidence. It's as if, hopefully we're going to end up with more evidence than the other side and the majority will win. No, truth was never determined by majority. Never and it never will be. There is only one who knows everything and he is the truth and he has told us what happened. So the battle has to be about how the facts are interpreted, not about the facts themselves, and our interpretation is based on our starting assumptions. So the question is: do we see the world through the lens of God's word or do we look at the world based on what men see? And overwhelmingly I find so many Christians and so many Christians in academia, are looking at the world based on man's word and they tremble in fear because of peer pressure, because of being respectable to your peers, to accept the group mentality instead of being prepared like Daniel to stand against the crowd and not compromise God's word.
We like to illustrate it like this, you only have one of two ways to look at the world: you either start with man decides truth for himself or God's word is true. There are only two positions in the world. Every one that doesn't start with God's word is deciding that they will decide what is right and wrong and what is truth. Based on either of those two positions, you take up glasses to look at the world and so how you see the evidence will be determined by the pair of glasses that you're wearing which, of course, is your starting assumptions, whether God's word is true or man decides truth for himself. After all, isn't that what happened in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve rejected what God had told them and instead decided for themselves and we're in the mess that they generated as a result.
So another issue we have to deal with is this whole idea of neutrality. Many Christians think, "Oh look, if we could just get on a neutral ground, leave the Bible out of the discussion, we should be able to convince people." But there is no such thing as neutrality. Jesus said, "You're either for me or against me." You either sow or you scatter. People either belong to Christ or they belong to Satan and the kingdom of darkness.
You see, here you have two men who are going to discuss the issues. You put the neutral ground over there, what does it mean? It means you have to throw the Bible out. But, after all, isn't God's word the truth? So you've just, as it were, laid down your weapon like the soldier before you begin, throw down your sword. So are we going to throw down our sword, the word of truth, when we go into battle to defend God's word? No, we use God's word. We never never fall into the trap of deciding that we can argue our view about the world without reference to God's word.
And the other thing that's happening out there is, and I'm sorry I seem to be picking on Christian academics, but I meet so many of them in the seminaries and in the colleges, and it just disturbs me to the core. For example, there is a professor at Wheaton College who has said that recently in his views on the book of Genesis, that the church had it wrong for 2,000 years, and because of the study that he's done of the Ancient Near Eastern literature, he can now tell us what God really meant in Genesis and how we should understand it. I'm sorry, I find that highly arrogant to suggest that God's word wasn't written to be understood from when it was written. God's word was breathed, God-breathed and written to be understood by all people in all time in all places.
There is the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture, the clarity of Scripture. As we say, if you give the opening chapters of Genesis to a 10 year old, they'd understand it as a literal six day creation, a literal week, a global flood, etc. etc.
So we have to, therefore, remind ourselves that we have to start with God's word because here are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and, after all, the Bible is the history book of the universe. As I said last week, it's his story. Where does Genesis start with? Jesus creating. Where does it finish? Jesus restoring everything, the new heaven and the new earth. In between he comes to his rescue mission to redeem fallen mankind. Those details in Genesis matter because it's Jesus' human lineage. His pedigree. That's why you have the genealogy in the book of Luke referring back to the genealogies in Genesis. He was a man, truly the second Adam because he descended from the first Adam and So-and-so begat So-and-so. Those ages were there deliberately. God put those details for us to understand there was a literal history and a chronological framework in which the Creator himself, Jesus Christ, came to this earth and we must never ever give that ground up.
As we read in John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But he was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made." And then the amazing statement, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth." Jesus Christ was and still is the Creator of the universe and everything it contains. Paul says in Colossians 1, "For by him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him."
And Jesus never ceased to be the Creator during his earthly ministry. He never ceased to be the Creator. He always spoke the truth because he is the truth, otherwise if he told a lie, he's not the truth and he's not the way. As I said last week, he demonstrated by his miracles that he was still the Creator during his earthly ministry and he endorsed the early chapters of Genesis as true, literal, not figurative, historical record. Jesus repeatedly referred to Adam, to Abel. He referred to Noah, particularly, and the flood.
So let's look at some of these miracles. He stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee. What was the disciples' response? They fell down and worshiped him. "What manner of man is this that even the wind and waves obey him?" Of course they had to obey him because he created them, and he spoke a word and instantly there was a great calm. It sort of just didn't die away, it was stormy one minute, a split second later it was as still as a millpond. He demonstrated his power that he still was the Creator.
He walked on water during a storm. Not just walked on water, he walked on it during a storm. He defied gravity because he created gravity.
He created water from wine. Wine is a complex organic molecule. Water is just hydrogen and oxygen so he had to add carbon. This was a miracle of creation. He did it instantly. We'll come back to that in a moment, that particular.
He fed 5,000 and 4,000 people on two different occasions by creating more fish and more bread, and the bread and the fish were the same as the original. They didn't have to grow through long periods of time. He instantly created because there was a need. People needed food so he created more.
He healed a man born blind. Notice he was born blind. As we grow up, we learn by the impulses and we get names to different things, just like as a baby grows up, it learns different things. This was a man who had never seen people, who had never seen a tree, who had never seen animals, that when Jesus healed him, not only did he heal his physical eyes, he programmed his brain so he could understand what he was about to see. Only the Creator could do that.
And he raised people from the dead because he had the power of death. He had the power of life because he created life. That's why he could lay down his body of his own, die, lay down his life of his own accord and take it up again when he rose from the dead.
Let's stop and look at this miracle in John 2 because it's highly instructive as to what is happening in the world today and how people think the way they do and why they're wrong. You see, Jesus instantly created the wine from the water by speaking into existence. It didn't take minutes. It didn't take hours. It didn't take a week. With a word, he instantly created. What did we read in Genesis 1? God spoke and it was so. Why do people want to put millions of years in there? Jesus demonstrated by his miracles that he created instantly. He did it in front of eye-witnesses instantly so why can't we believe Genesis 1? The reason is because of what the scientists are saying. Nothing to do with God's word. So why do we try to put millions of years into God's word when Jesus, the Creator, demonstrated that he created instantly in front of witnesses?
But there's more here. The ruler of the feast, remember what happened: Jesus commanded the servants to take water pots, fill them up with water and draw and take up to the master of the feast, the ruler of the feast. What happened? The ruler of the feast tasted the wine and he spoke to the bridegroom about it approvingly. He said, "Why have you left the best wine to last?" When he made that statement, he was assuming that that was wine that had come from grapes grown on vines that had been harvested, crushed and fermented. In other words, the best wine took years. So by using his human reasoning, without talking to the eye-witnesses, he assumed that the wine looked old, like people assume the rocks look old, they assume the earth looks old.
But you see, Jesus had created that wine instantly. Why? Because they needed wine. They had run out. Just like Adam and Eve would need fruit three days after he created the fruit trees, what did he do? He created them already bearing fruit because it was for a need. If he had just planted seeds, Adam and Eve would have gone hungry. And so from our human reasoning perspective, the wine would have seemed to have an apparent history when it didn't because Jesus showed to the servants, they saw what happened. They filled up the water pots and then it was wine.
Now, here's another thing. People say, "Oh, but isn't God deceiving us by making the world look old?" Did Jesus deceive anyone when he made that wine? They thought it looked old because they didn't know about the miracle and Jesus even sent the servants to the ruler of the feast so they could tell him what happened if he asked. But he didn't. The ruler of the feast used his human reasoning alone instead of, interpreted the evidence based on his everyday experience. He had the eye-witnesses there, Jesus had sent the servants to him. He could have said to them instead of commenting to the bridegroom, he could have said, "Hang on a minute, guys, where did this wine come from?" And they would have said, "Well, that gentleman over there told us to fill it up with water and we saw with our very own eyes that it turned into wine."
You see, he had the information available but he didn't speak to the eye-witnesses. God has seen everything and he's told us. He was the eye-witness of all that happened in the past and if we, therefore, disregard God's word and use our human reasoning alone, we will come to the wrong conclusion just like the ruler of the feast did. You see, the eye-witnesses' account was crucial to our understanding of what happened. If we view the evidence with the wrong assumptions, at least the wrong interpretation and conclusion. God does not deceive us because he told us what happened and it's the same with the creation of the earth and the universe and its age. God has told us in Genesis what happened. Genesis is an eye-witness account. God saw what he had made and said it was good. God saw what he made and said it was good. God saw what he made and said it was very good. And it's been attested to, as we'll see in a moment, by Jesus' literal history. God only had to speak and things came into existence instantaneously.
So the earth and the universe only having an interpreted apparent age for those who refuse to accept the eye-witness account. Again, I'm belaboring this point so you get it. If we use the wrong assumptions, we'll get the wrong conclusion that the universe is old. The evidence must be understood, what we see in the world around us must be understood based on what God told us he did, not what he could have done, but what he told us he did. And God does not deceive because he's told us. The only way we deceive ourselves if we ignore what he's told us.
So the earth doesn't look old. Many people might tell you that they think it looks old but why do they think that? As I said, God instantly created mature fruit trees. God did not deceive us because he was present when that happened. He told us what happened. God was fully capable of recording and preserving for us what happened and Jesus gave the eye-witness account, his personal approval as history. So the reason why, as we said last week, that people interpret the earth as old is because what they're doing is using everyday geological processes and extrapolating that back into the past. So if you think that the Colorado River slowly carved out the Grand Canyon, well, of course it would be millions of years old supposedly because rivers take a long time to carve their way across the landscape. The trouble is the Colorado River isn't capable of carving the Grand Canyon. The reason why there are rapids in the Colorado River is because it's not powerful enough to erode all those rocks away.
So how old is the earth? The Genesis account tells us that God created the earth on day 1 and man on day 6 so the earth is only five days older than man, and Jesus confirmed this because he said in Mark 13:19, "The creation which God created and then said from the beginning of the creation," in verse 6, not after billions of years, from the beginning of creation "God made them male and female." From the beginning of creation, God made man. You see, the secular timeline says that there was a big bang, 15.7 to 14 billion years ago. The earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. A man, well, you know, just the last million years or less. So man is after billions of years whereas Jesus said, no. If Genesis is true, then the earth was created on day 1, man on day 6, and that's 6,000 years ago. Wow, that's way back at the beginning of time, isn't it? That's at the beginning of creation. So you can see Jesus' timeline which matches Genesis and based on Genesis, doesn't fit the secular evolutionary timescale whatsoever.
Furthermore, the biblical chronology of human history is relatively short. I alluded to that earlier. It's Jesus' human lineage that's recorded there in Genesis 5 and 11. The available evidence points, as we'll see shortly, the human history and cultures are only thousands of years long. So the earth is only thousands of years old. The literal historic record in the Scriptures matters because it is, as I said before, the chronology of God's plan of redemption and the genealogy of Jesus Christ, our Creator.
Okay, so we ask ourselves: what about those days in Genesis? Were they literal? The Hebrew word for "day" is "yom," and it's used in the Old Testament 2,301 times. Does everyone understand everywhere else in the Old Testament what the word "yom" means, that it equals a day? Yes. Why do they only question it when it comes to Genesis chapter 1? If everywhere else in the Old Testament it's quite clear that the word for "day, yom" means an ordinary literal day, why do they question it in Genesis 1? It's because of what the scientists say about the age of the earth. That's why.
Now, the word "yom," it's true, has other definitions. It can mean a day as in terms of a 24 hour day. It can mean the daylight portion of a day. Or it can mean an indefinite period of time. But here's the point: a word is always understood in its context and it's exactly the same in the Hebrew, the understanding. You see, we use the word "day" in English in several different ways. Back in my father's day, it took ten days to drive across the outback of Australia during the day. In that one sentence I've used the word "day" in English in three different ways: an indefinite period of time, 24 hour days, and the daylight portion of a day. But in each instance of that usage, we know exactly what the English word "day" means because of the context and it's exactly the same in the Hebrew.
By the way, was Jonah 3,000 years in the belly of the fish? No, we understood that those were three days, not three periods of 1,000 years. Or did Joshua take so many years to march around Jericho? No, the context, we know that they were days.
So when used outside of Genesis 1, the word "yom" in the Hebrew for "day," when it has a number, 410 times either in the plural or singular, it always means an ordinary day. Always outside of Genesis 1 with a number. If the word "yom" has an evening and a morning used with it as it is 38 times outside Genesis 1, it always means an ordinary day. If you have evening or morning together with "day" 23 times each outside of Genesis 1, it always means an ordinary day. And if you use "night" with "day" 52 times outside of Genesis 1, everyone understands it means a literal day.
So what does the context in Genesis 1 have? God called the darkness night, the evening, the morning, one day. Evening and morning, second day. Evening and morning, third day. Evening and morning, fourth day. Remember, a number? Evening, morning, it always dictates it's a literal day. Do you think the Holy Spirit was trying to get the message repeating it six times? Evening and morning, one day. Evening and morning, one day. Evening and morning, third day. Evening and morning, fourth day. It's so clear. Everywhere else where you have that formula outside of Genesis 1, it can only ever mean an ordinary day. So it has nothing to do with the Hebrew that people want to interpret those days in Genesis as thousands or millions of years long.
By the way, where do we get the idea of the week from anyway? With the day as a rotation of the earth as an astronomical basis. The month is the moon going around the earth. The year is the earth going around the sun. There is an astronomical basis for all those, but where is the basis for the week? Exodus 20, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in it, and rested the seventh day therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." By the way, the children of Israel new, therefore, that they had to work for millions of years before they got a day off, didn't they? I mean, the bosses would love that. They understood the whole basis for the work week was because that's what God did in Genesis, he set the example for our work and our day of rest with the Sabbath and it's all based on Genesis 1.
By the way, in Exodus 31:17 and 18, this is repeated, "for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God." Nowhere else in the Scriptures are we told that these words were actually written physically by God's finger and what words were they? In six days, written by God's finger. Other Scriptures are inspired, that Scripture is inscribed, "in six days." Now, if God can't be trusted to say and write what he means in Genesis 1 and Exodus, how can we trust him anywhere else? He said it was six days, he meant six days. It was the basis of the work week which is six literal days and a day of rest, so why can't we accept that there were literal days in Genesis?
After all, why does God need it so long? I love this card. "In six days. Yup, six truly real days? Yup. You're sure it says six days? Yes. I wonder why he took so long?" I mean, why did God take as long as six days? He could have done it in one split second but he deliberately chose to do it in six days. Why? Because he was setting an example for us for our work week, Exodus 20.
By the way, some say, "Oh, but doesn't it say in 2 Peter 3:8 that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years?" Well, read the rest of the verse, "and a thousand years is one day." That cancels that out, doesn't it? What is Peter saying here, by the way? He's saying that with God time is irrelevant. Why? Because God lives in eternity, God created time. We are ruled by time, he isn't. What man could take a thousand years to do, God can do just like that. It's nothing to do with the days of Genesis at all, in fact it's a cross reference to Psalm 90:4.
By the way, this is from Wheaton College Pattle Pun: it is apparent that the most straightforward and understanding of the Genesis record is that God created heaven and earth in six days, that man was created on the sixth day, that death and the curse entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve, and all the fossils are the result of the catastrophic universal deluge which spared only Noah's family and the animals therein. By the way, why doesn't he believe that? Without regard to all the hermeneutical consideration suggested by science. In other words, that's what God meant, that it was six days but the scientists, well, we have to take on board what they say and, therefore, we have to reinterpret to tell God what he really meant.
This is a Hebrew scholar. He was a liberal but he was one of the world's leading Hebrew scholars and he said, "As far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world class university who does not believe the writer of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to the readers the idea that," what? "Creation took place in six 24 hour days, the genealogies should add up to a literal record of the chronology of the world, and Noah's flood was understood to be worldwide." In other words, that's what the Hebrew language says. That's what it says: six literal days, literal genealogies, chronology and the flood.
I love this comment from Martin Luther, "How long did the work of creation take? When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, the period being six days, do not venture to devise any comment according to which the six days were one. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are."
So here are those genealogies. Father/son relationship. It's a very tight chronology give or take a few years here and there, but that's how we get to sum up that the flood was about 1,650 years after creation. Then you have another 2,000 years to Abraham. Another 2,000 years to Christ, more or less. Not 2,000 years to Abraham, another 450 years to Abraham, 2000 BC. So you have the biblical timeline of history and then you have the six days within that first week of that 6,000 year history.
So remember the secular history is viewed with assumptions based on man's theories and one of the biggest issues is, the biggest question that people ask is: why is there death and suffering in the world? And those who want to add man's ideas to the Bible don't have an answer to that question because, you see, they have to have with the means of years, you have suffering and death and disease and pain and struggle, if that all happened before Adam and Eve walked this earth, then is that the very good world that God created? Is that what we can look forward to in the new heaven and the new earth? Absolutely not. We're told the lion will lie down with the lamb, a little child will lead them, they will neither hurt nor harm in all my holy hill.
So let's look that through biblical glasses to look at the real age of the world based on the scientific evidence using biblical glasses. Most people don't realize that most dating methods that have ever been used, more than 90% give a young age. It's only a few like radioactive decay in rocks that give old ages. Most methods that have ever been used give young ages.
Now, let's look at this issue of radioactivity for a moment and I know this could get a little bit complicated for some of you, but hang in and we'll try and do our best. Some atoms of some elements have too many particles in their nuclei and so they're unstable. They eject some of these particles which is the radioactivity that is detected. When you put a Geiger counter up to uranium, it's detecting those subatomic particles that have been kicked out of the uranium atoms to make them more stable. That's all it is. So the process is known as radioactive decay and what happens is that you start with parent atoms and you get daughter atoms. The parent atoms are unstable. They radioactive decay to daughter atoms. So uranium decays into lead. Potassium decays into argon. These are some of the elements that the geologists look for in the rocks to date them, and so here they are listed.
By the way, I won't say too much about radiocarbon or carbon 14 because radiocarbon decays very rapidly. It's not used to date rocks because most rocks don't have carbon in them anyway. The main ones that are used to date rocks at millions and billions of years are uranium to lead, potassium to argon, rubidium to strontium, and samarium to neodymium. Now, some of those names you've never even heard of. That's okay. You can be forgiven for that.
Now, minerals and rocks contain some of these parent and daughter atoms. Lots of granites, for example, at Mount Rushmore. The Presidents' heads are carved into granite. Most people don't realize that that rock is radioactive because it's got uranium in it. And what the geologist does, he collects samples of the rock and then he chemically tests it for these parent and daughter atoms. So he has to know the rate of radioactive decay and he has to assume that it has stayed the way it always has measured today, and based on that, he can calculate the rock's age.
So let's look at this diagram here for a minute because it helps explain it. This is a simple clock that we construct an hourglass, okay? We put all the sand up in the top glass bowl, we turn it up so all the sand is in the top glass bowl and it takes an hour for it to fall. And think about this analogous: all the sand up here when it starts is uranium, it falls which is radioactive decay, and it turns into the daughter atom, lead, down here.
Now, say that you wanted to do something out in the yard and you decided to put this clock on, so you turn it up and you've got all the sand at the top and you know that it will take an hour to fall to the bottom, so you go out and do a job outside in the yard. You come back in, you find half the sand up here and half the sand down the bottom. Okay, you've done your measurement. It's like analyzing the rock. You've got half the sand up here, half the sand.. so how long has your clock been ticking? Thirty minutes, half an hour. Because you've already calibrated your clock, you already know that the sand takes an hour, so you know the rate of radioactive decay because you measured it and you've come in and you measure how much sand is up here and how much sand is down there. You calculate that it's half and half, therefore half of one hour, "Ah, okay, that's how long the clock's been ticking."
Well, it's similar to the rocks. They want to measure how much uranium and lead is in it. They want to figure out how much uranium is turned into lead. If they know how long the process takes after they've done the measurements in the rock of the uranium and lead, they can calculate how old the rock is, how long the process has been going.
But there are three assumptions that are required and this is the crucial "but." Assumption 1: the amounts of parent and daughter at the beginning when the rock formed must be known. Okay. You knew all the sand grains were at the top when you left the room but you tipped them all up there so at the beginning you were there when you started the clock. The radioactive clock is supposed to start when the rock forms. Were the geologists there to see the rock when it formed? Do they know that there was only uranium in the rock and no lead to begin with? You knew that there were only red atoms up here, uranium, when you started that clock before you went out to do your chore. There was nothing down the bottom. How do they know that when the rock formed there might have been some of this as well as some of that? They don't know because they weren't there. So if you don't know the initial conditions and you're assuming that all this down the bottom formed from that up the top when it all might have been that way just yesterday when the rock formed. You see, if you don't know, you weren't there, you can't be sure.
Assumption 2: all these daughter atoms, the sand grains down the bottom, have to have been derived from sand grains at the top. Well, that's alright for your hourglass that's sealed but, I mean, you might have had a mischievous child that while you weren't looking they lifted up the lid and put more sand grains in. Remember, those rocks are supposed to have been sitting out there for millions of years. What flows through rocks? Well, we've had rain this week. Doesn't the rainfall percolate down through the rocks? Yes. Doesn't the rainfall leech atoms like uranium out of the rocks? Yes. So how do they know that these quantities since the rock formed haven't been changed by weathering, by water leeching through, by any other processes? They don't know. They weren't there. So you can't have any contamination of anything like that has occurred. It has to have been a closed system.
Thirdly, you have to know that the rate has been constant. Now, it is true that they can measure the radioactive decay rate today. It's quite simple. You get a given quantity of uranium, you can calculate how many atoms are in it. That's easy because it's been figured out. You put a Geiger counter in a given period of time and you could the number of atoms that have decayed, so you know how many you started with, you know how many have decayed, you know the time it took so you actually measured the rate of decay. But that's only been done for the last 100 years. By the way, their estimates have changed in that time, too. So how do they know that the decay rates have always been constant in the past? They don't know. They weren't around millions of years ago to check these decay rates.
So in other words, each of these three assumptions are unprovable and, in fact, they're unreasonable because why couldn't decay rates change if you had a catastrophic upheaval like the flood? So the past cannot be observed and measured and tested. None of these assumptions are provable so they're not even reasonable. Daughter atoms may be inherited when the rock forms, in other words as we'll see in a moment, you could actually get daughter atoms with the parent atoms to begin with and the daughter atoms wouldn't have come from radioactive decay. You could have subsequent contamination. You can have atoms added or subtracted like groundwaters flowing through the rocks.
Now, the quality of the chemical analysis is not disputed. I mean, the laboratories that do these measurements are incredible. Multi-million dollar laboratories. No question about the accuracy of the chemical analysis but we have to remember the dates are based on interpretation of those chemical analyses using these assumptions. Okay, so we'll just skip over that quickly for the interest of time.
Mount St. Helens back in 1980 blew its top. In the subsequent years, a new lava dome developed in the crater and you can actually observe when different flows of material came out and oozed and solidified and there was a lava flow that oozed out in 1986 and ten years later it was measured for potassium-argon and it gave ages from .35 million years up to 2.8 million years depending on what part of the sample you took and this was a rock that was ten years old. We'd actually observed it form so we knew the true age and yet it gave potassium-argon, that's potassium decays to argon. What was the problem? Argon is a gas and it's present in the volcanic gases and so it was actually inherited or locked into the lavas when the lavas congealed. So it was made artificially old.
Now, if we know this is the case when we can observe it happening in the present with present-day lava flows, and by the way, this is not unusual. You go to Hawaii and you can find the same things. Lava flows when they erupt give you old ages. So if that's the case with the present-day ones that we observe and we know what the true age is, then how can we trust all the ancient ages that they give us?
If we go to the Grand Canyon, there are lava flows that are so recent they flowed down the walls of the Grand Canyon from volcanic eruptions up on the North rim, and we can see remnants of these lava flows pinned to the canyon walls. This is in the Western Grand Canyon and this is so recent, of course, if was after the Grand Canyon was carved out. Some of these lava flows actually blocked and damned the Colorado River temporarily and they give a potassium-argon age, and you can see some of the ages up there, notice the rubidium-strontium age, 1,143 million years. It's the same age as a lava flow right down here in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This is one of the oldest lava flows in the Grand Canyon. We'll see it again in a moment. We'll see it with a photograph. These lava flows down here, some of the oldest lava flows and the youngest lava flows give exactly the same rubidium-strontium age.
By the way, you would think that the different radioactive clocks should give you the same results. Notice those recent lava flows. Potassium-argon dates of a million years or less. Rubidium-strontium at 1,143 million years. Uranium lead, 2,600 million years on the same rocks.
By the way, if the recent lava flows give you the same rubidium-strontium result as the oldest lava flows, it can have nothing to do with, these radioactive atoms can have nothing to do with the age of the rock. These rocks came from the same area deep underneath the Grand Canyon. They came from the same source so they had the same chemistry which is reflected in the same radioactive results. It has nothing to do with the age, it has everything to do with the chemistry of the source.
So the third assumption, you know, they assume that decay rates are constant but why should decay rates have been constant in the past? Now, often when the geologist use these clocks, they often only use one on a particular rock sample. They don't take all four clocks, radioactive clocks' measurements on the same rock samples. Interestingly, when you do that, though, you get some interesting results and so this is some research that I've been involved in where we took the same rock samples from the Grand Canyon from four different rock units in the Grand Canyon and tested them for all of these radioactive clocks, the same samples, okay? You would think that all four should give you the same results. Well, they don't. Here we have a rock unit in the Grand Canyon where molten material like basalt, which is that lava that you see flowing out of Hawaii, it didn't make it to the surface, it was actually squeezed between two rock layers and crystallized and cooled. So it didn't make it to the surface. It didn't erupt and the geologists call it a sill.
And what sort of results did we get for that? Potassium-argon, 841 ½ billion years. Rubidium-strontium, 1,060 million years. Lead lead, 1,250 million years. Samarium-neodymium, 1,379 million years. Tell me, which of those ages is the correct age, the true age for that rock? Or is it, E: none of the above? I mean, how would you know which one is right? All of these are supposed to be giving you the same result because they all are supposed to have started ticking when the rock formed, but here they're giving us different results. Why?
Here's those lava flows, the Cardenas basalt, those ancient lava flows at the bottom of the canyon. They give you a potassium-argon age of 560 million years or a rubidium-strontium age of 1,111 million years and a samarium-neodymium age of 1,588 million years. Notice that the rubidium-strontium age is twice the size of the potassium-argon and the samarium-neodymium is three times. I mean, how accurate is that? How accurate is that? How do you know which is the true age? By the way, notice that the potassium-argon is, again, the youngest, rubidium-strontium is the second youngest. In fact, that will be the same and rubidium-strontium will always be younger than samarium-neodymium or lead-lead. You see?
We go to other ancient rocks in the bottom of the Grand Canyon and these are former lava flows that have been heated and metamorphosed. Rubidium-strontium is the youngest here, 1,240, lead-lead 1,883, samarium-neodymium 1,655. The rubidium-strontium is younger than the other two.
There is a consistent pattern. We go to a granite. This is supposed to be the oldest rock in the Grand Canyon. Here we get the similar difference in ages. Again, rubidium-strontium is the youngest. In other words, there is a systematic difference in these results, a similar pattern of the different clocks. They must have, therefore, done something differently in the past in a consistent way. You see, all four methods always disagree on these rock units and yet these rock units are supposed to represent a once-only, unique geologic event, the formation of that horizontal body that we call a silo, lavas that got metamorphosed or volcanic eruptions, all the crystallization, that's a once-only event when the clock is supposed to have started ticking. So if the radioactive clocks were accurate and they always ticked at the same rate, each clock should have given the same age but they didn't, therefore, each clock must have ticked at different rates in the past to give different ages. In other words, for example with the Cardenas basalt, while potassium ticked through 560 million years supposedly, supposed years, the rubidium clock ticked through 1,100 million years, and the samarium clock ticked through 1,588 million years. In other words, the samarium clock was ticking faster than the rubidium clock which was ticking faster than the potassium clock. In other words, the decay rates haven't been constant so assumption 3 is blown out of the water. If the clocks don't tick at reliable rates, and they haven't in the past, how could you use these radioactive decay methods to date rocks at millions of years? You can't. They are absolutely unreliable. So radioactive dating cannot yield the claim absolute ages.
So what is the earth's real age, then? We have to go back to remind ourselves that all scientific evidence involves unprovable assumptions. A process is chosen whose rate can be measured in the present, like radioactive decay, like erosion of rivers, like putting salt into the sea. Some suitable, reasonable, starting conditions are assumed but can't be proven because no scientist was there at the start to observe them. Now we have to, then, assume that the process rate was constant like radioactive decay, supposedly constant, even though there were no scientists present over time to verify that assumption, so any method that we use to calculate the age of the earth from science will only give us a qualitative maximum estimate.
Why is that relevant? We're going to talk about some of these dating methods that give a young age for the world but I want you to understand that this is the only reliable way of knowing the age of the world because no matter what method we use, even though it might give a young age, it's still based on assumptions that can't be proven so that's why we always have to come back to God's word. So, for example, comets, we're going to hear more about comets later this year because there is going to be a spectacular one come by that will be brighter than the moon later in the year. And comets are dirty snowballs, they are ice and dust, and as they orbit through the solar system, they get near the sun and what happens? Well, the sun, particles from the sun knock off dust particles and they are lit up by the light of the sun and that's the tail of the comet. In other words, the comet is losing part of its mass, part of its make-up. Every time it gets closer to the sun, therefore, it's getting smaller and smaller. That's why Halley's Comet was not as spectacular the last time it came past; it was more spectacular the time before, more spectacular the time before because every time it comes past, it's losing size and intensity. So the comets are actually disintegrating and yet the trouble is they're supposed to have come into existence at the same time as the rest of the solar system. The trouble is, their lifetime is less than 10,000 years. There are comets that aren't here today that were seen only in the recent past. They disintegrated and they're gone so they have a lifetime and then they're gone and that puts an estimate on the age of the solar system.
The earth has a magnetic field – now by the way, let me point out something else here. When a geologist takes a rock to give a radioactive date, he's taking a little bit of a rock sample here and that's supposed to represent a huge huge area. Here we're talking about a whole earth process. You think a whole earth process would be more reliable than taking a little itty-bitty rock sample in one little pokey point on the earth's surface? Absolutely. The earth's magnetic field, that's why a compass' needle points North, by the way, because the earth has a magnetic field. Real time measurements have shown that it's losing it's energy at a rate of half every 1,400 years. In other words, the earth's magnetic field was twice as strong as it is today only 1,400 years ago. And during the flood when there were reversals because of what was going on inside the earth with things moving around inside the earth, energy would have been lost faster.
So these are real time measurements since the early 1800s. Each of those red dots represents a measurement on the whole earth magnetic field, not some little spot, the whole earth magnetic field, and you can see that there's been quite a considerable loss in energy in that time. And if we try to do a graph of what that might mean, it means that it got stronger in the past, was stronger in the past but there were things going on at the time of the flood. By the way, we can check aspects of this curve based on pottery, the magnetism preserved in pottery, because you get magnetism, magnetic minerals that actually preserve what the earth's magnetic field was like in the past when it's locked into things like pottery. So some of that is based on real data, quite a lot of it is based on real data.
If you look at the energy going back, then you can see what happens. You extrapolate the energy back to what it would be a maximum because beyond that maximum the earth would be so energetic from the magnetic field that the earth would heat up and be like a star. So there is a backward limit, so this places a limit of maximum age of 10,000 years on the earth, the whole earth, based on the earth's magnetic field.
The continents. Do you realize the continent is eroding too quickly? The current rate of erosion, everything would have been eroded down to sea level in 14 million years so why are there still mountains? Where does all that mud go? Into the ocean. You know, there is only 12 million years' worth of mud on the ocean floor. By the way, does that mean that it's 12 million years back to the flood? No. What happened at the end of the flood? There was all this water running off. Most of that mud would have accumulated at the end of the flood so remember what I said about your starting assumptions? If you assume that that rate of mud accumulation has been the same all through history, you get an age of 12 million years, but when you read the Bible, we know there was a flood and at the end of the flood there would have been a lot of mud from water flowing off, so most of that mud accumulated very rapidly at the end of the flood so that estimate is way too big if you bring the flood into the equation.
What about the sea salt? We can calculate how much salt is going in and how much salt is circulating out and this is what it looks like: they take sodium chloride, which is sodium, common salt, and just look at the sodium and you can look how much is going into the ocean, how much is coming out. You know, at the most liberal assumptions, to allow for the other side of the equation, you get 62 million years to accumulate the present earth's ocean saltiness starting with no salt, yet they claim, the secularists claim the ocean is at least 3 billion years old. If the oceans were 3 billion years old, the ocean should be clogged with salt.
Now, don't forget, again, we ask the question: okay, that's without reference to the Scriptures, now let's go back to what God's word says. Would God start with a freshwater ocean or some salt? Salt because he created fish to swim in saltwater. How does the salt get in there? By erosion taking salt into rivers. The Ohio was full of salt that was taken down to the Mississippi, down to the Gulf. What was happening during the flood? I mean, this estimate is based on current river flow. What happened during the flood? There was so much more water, so much more erosion, so much more salt, most of the salt got out during the flood, therefore, that's way too large an estimate. Do you see what I mean about all we can get is a qualitative maximum? As soon as you start to go back to God's word, you can say, "Ah, well, it's got to be much less because of what God's word tells us about history."
Biological materials decay too fast. You've heard a lot of this in the news where they've found soft tissue in dinosaur bones and that's been replicated several times. DNA, you can even find blood cells in dinosaur tissue. By the way, the scientists say, "Oh, well, the blood vessels must have survived for 65-70 million years," even though they know these things decay rapidly on a laboratory shelf today. In fact, the latest estimate for DNA survival is about 500 years based on good, solid bones from birds that were killed in New Zealand when the Maoris killed them and they know how much DNA is left in those compared with the live birds today. So they know how long DNA survives. It doesn't survive very long at all, so how can they say when you find dinosaur DNA, which they have found, or neanderthal DNA, that it's been around for hundreds of thousands or millions of years? It's not possible.
Radiocarbon. Radiocarbon decays so quickly, let me put it to you this way: if every atom on the earth was radiocarbon, within a million years it would all be gone. That's why they don't use radiocarbon to date fossils and coal and oil, because they believe those things are millions and millions and millions of years old. The trouble is every time they have tested those things for radiocarbon, they've found radiocarbon in it, but they refuse to accept that they, therefore, must be only thousands of years old, not millions of years old. Why? Not because the evidence is there, the evidence is there of radiocarbon in these things, but their presupposition, their assumption that the earth is millions of years rules out that it could be radiocarbon that's real, that goes back to the origin of those things.
I mean, it's even worse when you find radiocarbon in diamonds. Diamonds were never in the atmosphere, they're always formed inside the earth; they came up from inside the earth and they're supposed to be 1 to 3 billion years old and yet they have radiocarbon in them and radiocarbon is only thousands of years. And the diamonds are intrinsic to the make-up of the earth itself inside the earth, therefore, if the diamonds are that young, the earth is young. But do they accept that? No, because their assumption is the earth is millions of billions of years old, therefore, they have to ignore this evidence and try to argue it away. "Oh, it's due to contamination." No, diamonds can't be contaminated. "Maybe there's nitrogen in these and uranium and atoms of uranium decaying produce the carbon 14." No, there is not enough uranium and nitrogen in there to do that. Every argument they put up can be knocked down.
Helium. You get as a byproduct of uranium decay, you get helium given off and the helium leaks out of these crystals and you can test these crystals in the rocks. Even though they're supposed to be a billion and a half years old, the helium has leaked out so quickly that the leakage only started 6,000 years ago. So what does that mean? It means that the real time period because leakage is a physical process that we know follows physical laws, the real age for these crystals is 6,000 years, that means there must have been a billion and a half, supposed billion and a half years of the equivalent of that in only 6,000 years which means the decay must have been accelerated which, again, confirms that those radioactive clocks can't be trusted. Where does the helium go? It goes into the atmosphere. Start with no helium in the atmosphere, the present amount of helium in the atmosphere would get there in less than 2 million years. That's starting with no helium.
By the way, do you realize that there is not enough Stone Age graves? You know, if you look at the so-called "Stone Age" covering a period of a 195,000 years, the number of people that lived and died in that period would have been, if you have a population averaging a million, you would have billions of people that lived and died in that time. Where are all the graves? Where are all the bones? We don't find them because that time period never existed.
Here's another agriculturist who reasoned: how did these Stone Age people live for 195,000 years before someone didn't wake up that if you put a seed in the ground it would grow and you could grow a crop? Actually the Bible says Noah planted a vineyard after the flood.
Do you know why there was a Stone Age? Because man rebelled against God again and they had to disperse from the Tower of Babel. The Stone Age comes after the Tower of Babel because people couldn't take all their technology with them so they regressed in their technology to use stone tools once they were dispersed from the Tower of Babel. There was an Ice Age at that time. Read about it in the next issue of "Answers" magazine.
What about written history? Why is written history only 5,000 years long yet man has always kept records, beautiful cave paintings? Why are human records only that period of time? Because that's all human history has been.
Look at the population. You know, if you take Noah and his family, starting with them a generation span of 40 years, 2 ½ children per family, you get 7 billion people in that time which is .05% growth rate. What's the present average? Much higher than that so we have plenty more people since Noah to have died early as a result of wars and famines and diseases, etc. So if the earth is as old as they claim, there should be people everywhere on the earth's surface stacked 16 deep but they aren't there.
So we could go on and on and on. There are many more but we need to wrap up. As I said, all scientific evidence involves unprovable assumptions. A process rate is chosen, like adding salt to the sea, we can measure it in the present, we make assumptions about the starting conditions but, of course, we weren't there. But we have God's word so we know that we can adjust those calculations but if we just didn't have God's word, we'd come to the wrong answer, wouldn't we, because we have to assume the process rate was constant but it wasn't because we had the flood that added a lot more salt, a lot more mud. So all of those are only a maximum age. The only certainty we have is what we read in the Scriptures which was given for our instruction so that we'd know the true age of the earth, the true history of the earth, and our lineage from Adam.
So why does this matter? Why does it matter that we fight over this issue of the age of the earth? Should the observations of the world around us by fallible fallen humans, interpreted based on assumptions that reject the authority of Scripture, be given precedence over God's clear statements in the Scriptures? Now, sadly that's where a lot of Christian academics are at. They're taking what the fallible finite humans are saying and not submitting to the authority of Scripture, what God told us.
Human reasoning alone insists that today's natural processes are the only scientific means for calculating the earth's age like the radioactive decay rates but they're wrong because we have a more reliable eye-witness account. And by the way, we shouldn't ignore the observable data and facts of God's world because God made the world, he has given them to us, but we must recognize that our observations will always be tainted by a finite, fallible, fallen, human reasoning interpreted through the lenses of assumptions. All human and human activities including science, should humbly submit to the authority of God's word and when we submit to the authority of God's word, then our science conducted in the light of the Scriptures, always confirms God's word. Always. Yes, science does provide answers, it is a tool, but it must be subject to God's world just like everything else must be, come under the authority of God's word. And science can provide answers. Why? Because it's God's world. What we see in God's world should agree with what we read in the light of God's word and that's what we do see.
As I said last week, Jesus said in John 3:12, "I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, then how will you then believe if I speak to you of heavenly things?" By the way, four verses later he said, "For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son." Jesus said, "If you can't believe the earthly things I tell you, how are you going to believe the heavenly things?"
As I said before, this age issue matters because, you see, if the earth is millions of years old and was millions of years before man came into existence, that means all the fossils precede man. Adam and Eve would have been walking on a fossil graveyard. How could God say to Adam, "If you eat of the fruit of that tree over there you will surely die"? And Adam could say, "But, God, look at all the death and suffering around me, all the evidence of death in the ground. What are you talking about? Death is already here." It doesn't make sense, does it?
As I said last week, how can biblically we can justify fossil forms that are supposed to be 400 million years old before man came into existence? When were thorns brought into existence? We specifically read in Genesis 3:18 that as a result of the curse, as a result of man's fall in disobedience, the curse God said, "From now on, thorns and thistles will grow." So these thorns, fossil thorns, don't come 400 million years before man, they form after man. How could thorns be buried in rock layers after man was in the Garden of Eden? The flood. Do you see how the flood explains it so much? Which is why we've dealt with that last week.
You see, the evolutionary thinking, the worldly thinking about the millions of years says that death, suffering, disease and bloodshed has brought you and I into existence. So a Christian that wants to add this to the Bible, how can they find an answer to why there is death and suffering in the world? Effectively they're blaming God for disease, death and suffering in the world. That's putting it bluntly but that's the truth. If you accept millions of years, you're saying because the fossils are linked with those millions of years in the popular thinking, you're saying that God brought all this death and suffering into the world before man came into existence. How could God declare that that was very good? Because, you see, the Bible says it's totally different. The reason why there is death and suffering in the world is not because God created it that way, you and I loused it up because of our sin, because of our rebellion. Adam and Eve chose to rebel, which is sin, and the consequences of sin was death as God had said it would be and that's why you have all the death and suffering in the world.
Only the Christian that accepts God's word as literal history from the very beginning has the answer to why there is death and suffering in the world and why there is a good God that loves you and I. In fact, here's the crux: you know, before you tell someone the good news, don't they first all have to understand the bad news? And the bad news goes back to Genesis 1 through 3. God created a good world, very good world, man rebelled, man has a problem called sin, therefore, he needs a Savior.
You know, friends, and I'll close with this and it ties into some of the things that pastor has been sharing with us. You think about this: God loves you and I so much that the Creator was the one who came to die for us. Isn't that incredible? The price to be paid for you and I was the death of the Creator of the whole universe. Should we ever doubt that God loves us when he sent his only begotten Son, the Creator of the universe?
And I'll tell you what: if he wasn't the Creator of the universe, then we're still dead in our sins. Why? Well, aren't we told that one man could die for one man? True. But only the infinite Creator could die for all people in all places throughout all time. That's why all our sins were nailed to that cross, because the Creator himself, the infinite one, died on that cross.
I can tell you what's even more exciting: death couldn't hold him because he was the Creator of life. They couldn't take his life from him, he had to voluntarily lay it down. And he had the power to take it up again and because he lives, it's our guarantee that we will live also.
Isn't that an incredible message? And it is all in response to man's rebellion against God. If we get this part wrong, how do we expect people to understand, fully understand, the riches of the blessings that we have and the salvation that we have through Jesus Christ? Because that's why this issue matters. Immediately when you put in the millions of years, you mess up this part of the story because where did sin come from if death had always existed? Death can't be a punishment for sin if sin was in existence before Adam and Eve and that goes back to all the millions of years with the fossils. You see, ultimately it matters because the central point of history, the cross, was the result of man's sin, the death and punishment that came. If we add millions of years to the Bible, then we're undermining the very central message of the cross. So with that I'll close.
Father, we thank you for this time together. There has been a lot to think about tonight and I know that there are those for whom this is so much information all at once but, Father, help us to take this in and to recognize the importance of starting with your word as our authority, to sifting all that men say under the searchlight of your word. And Father, may we ever cling to the cross and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Father, what a truly wonderful message that is and how we pause agai
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