“When did I realise that the earth could be no older than about 6,000 years.? The exact moment that turned my thinking around was when a simple image was put up, of Eden with layers of fossil bones in the earth beneath Adam and Eve. This showed the stark implications for Christianity if e.g. dinosaur fossils were millions of years old. That would mean there was not only death before the Fall; many fossils also show evidence of suffering, bloodshed and violence, and diseases like bone cancer. Yet after Adam and Eve were created, God called everything He had made “very good” (Genesis 1:31). I realised that it made no sense for God to have looked at tumorous dinosaur bones on Day 6, then call this very good, knowing that cancer would cause such enormous future human misery.
The Eden-on-bones scenario also raised a fundamental doctrinal issue. If we put the shedding of blood before sin, then why did God in Jesus shed blood because of sin? (Genesis 3:21, Hebrews 9:22, 10:4–10) I could see that my compromising of God’s Word by believing the secular millions of years completely destroyed the whole basis for the Atonement (1 Corinthians 15:21–22)1.
Evolutionary geneticists have themselves realised that mutations accumulate so quickly (about 60–100 per person per generation), that the human species should have become extinct at least ten times over. Evolutionary geneticist Alexey Kondrashov asks, “Why have we not died 100 times over?*
That presumes we’ve been here for the 100,000+ years of the evolutionary timeline. It’s not a problem in the Bible’s 6,000-year timeline, with only about 200 generations since Adam. We’re still going downhill fast (Romans 8:19–22), but it’s understandable we haven’t gone extinct—there simply hasn’t been enough time.
The importance of the age of the earth in presenting the gospel message is demonstrated by the following testimony of an aboriginal man.
“I’ve been locked up in every jail in Queensland, so I’ve had the Gospel preached to me more times than I can count. But I ain’t never heard the Gospel like this. Just think … we [Aboriginal people] haven’t been here 60,000 years like they tell us; we come from Noah just 4,500 years ago, and Adam 6,000 years ago—along with everyone else alive today— that’s powerful! So Christ died for everyone—whitefella and blackfella!“
*Kondrashov, A., Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? J. Theoretical Biology 175:583–594, 1995.
Extract from article in the latest Creation magazine from CMI (www.creation.com) Creation magazine interviews former CMI speaker/scientist Dr David Catchpoole