Best Evidences for a Young Earth, Part 1  

 From the June 2012 Creation Answers Newsletter
Wayne Spencer

    The Bible implies the age of the Earth is approximately 6,000-8,000 years based on various estimates from Bible scholars.  The age would probably be closer to 6,000 than to 8,000.  Also, Biblically our solar system as well as the rest of the universe is of the same age.  But many believe that science has proven the Earth is billions of years old.  The age of the Earth does matter because the Bible is historical.  If the ages of things implied in Genesis and the Old Testament are not correct, this throws off many events mentioned in the Bible and it becomes impossible to relate history to Biblical information.  Indeed this is something many scholars today believe.  They would say "You can't expect the Bible to be historical."  More importantly, the Bible is authoritative about all of the information in it, not just some of it.

    There are actually many good confirmations of what the Bible says, from historical and archeological information, even going back to Abraham and possibly before that.  There is also scientific evidence that the Earth is only several thousand years old as the Bible says, not millions or billions of years old.  However, believing this does raise many questions about how to understand many things about our planet.  For years geologists and other scientists have interpreted many scientific observations under the assumption that the Earth is old.  But these ideas from evolutionary science are not the only way of interpreting the facts.  Creationists in the sciences have done much research over the past 50 years into many geological issues related to the age of the Earth.  Arguments for an old Earth are really weak arguments in the final analysis.  In this article we will look at what I believe are some of the best indicators that the Earth is only several thousand years old, like the Bible implies.  When you interpret the Bible correctly and you interpret the science correctly, science agrees with the Bible.  If they seem to not agree with each other, then you have interpreted one or both of them incorrectly.  

    We cannot really prove how old the Earth is.  But, the Bible gives enough information to approximate the age of the Earth.  Scientists generally claim to be quite certain of the age of the Earth as being about 4.55 billion years.  But evolutionary science is not so certain as it is made out to be.  Though we cannot be 100% conclusive, we can look at a variety of evidences and decide what age is most plausible from the preponderance of the evidence.  The Bible is a more certain source than science.  Scientific investigation sometimes uncovers new information that changes our understanding of things.  So what follows are the best arguments I know but that does not mean they are all infallible.  There are other lists similar to this that have been published by various creationists.  For this article I will consider just Earth, not the age of the solar system or the universe.  I will put young age scientific evidence in two categories.  The first category are arguments that are quantifiable in some manner.  So in Category 1 (for this article), they either start assuming a Biblical age figure and then show how that explains something well, or it starts with scientific data and actually calculates a age number for the Earth that is much younger than evolution claims.  The second category (in a later article) are arguments that though they don't lead to an age figure for the Earth, they answer something important that has been raised by evolutionists as an argument for an old Earth.  Note that the numbers in age calculations should only be understood as approximations.  The issue is whether billions of years is reasonable for the age of the Earth.  

    The strength of the evidence for a young Earth is mainly in the good research that has been put into the best evidences.  Some evidences should be thought of as more weighty than others because of the quality of the research that has been put into them.  In some creationist lists of young age evidences, the evidences are sort of all treated as of equal weight, when they are not of equal weight as I see it.  Some have been researched more than others.  Also, there is strength in the young age point of view from the fact that there are so many different unrelated processes that point to similar conclusions.  This is not like arguments evolutionary scientists use for an old age.  Many of the evolutionist arguments are related by similar dependent assumptions.  Evolutionist assumptions about age often relate to the principle of uniformitarianism.  Uniformitarianism holds that we can explain what happened in the past by applying processes that we know of happening in the present.  Thus scientists have often said, "the present is the key to the past."  I would say this philosophy is often wrong because it ignores that God intervened into history with the global judgement of Noah's Flood.  Supernatural intervention and catastrophic effects of the the Flood may explain key issues about Earth's geology.  Thus in many cases scientists should turn around the uniformitarian saying and put it the other way, "the past is the key to the present."  This is an oversimplification to some degree, but to say it this way is much closer to the truth than the evolutionary concepts.    

Category 1 Age Evidences

The following are quantifiable evidences, with the best, as I see it, listed first.  More could be listed than this.  For instance, to see a webpage with a longer list of these CLICK HERE.

[1] Left-Over Carbon-14

Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope that decays into Carbon-12, which is normal carbon.  Carbon exists in many kinds of materials on the Earth and in the Earth.  Sometimes we hear of C-14 being used to date man made artifacts found by archeologists.  But a different scientific issue about C-14 is raised by an important creationist research project called RATE.  I wrote an entire article in my newsletter of June 2004 about Carbon-14 and the Age of the Earth.  Scientists can now measure C-14 with great precision.  Dating something with C-14 dating involves measuring the amounts of C-14 and other isotopes found in a sample.  With the most sensitive techniques available in the best laboratories, the Carbon-14 dating method should theoretically be able to be used for an object up to about 90,000 years old.  If it is older than that, there is too little C-14 to measure.  Realistically scientists would probably not try to date something older than about 40,000 by Carbon dating.  But the problem is that there are a number of types of rocks and fossils that contain carbon that geologists believe are much older than 90,000 years, and yet they DO have Carbon-14 in them.  Why?  Some materials in the Earth which contain carbon include shell fossils, marble, graphite, diamonds, and natural gas (methane).  

    Scientists have tested these kind of materials from very ancient rock deposits or from mines where they could not have been contaminated from the atmosphere, and yet they will still have C-14 left though they are believed to be millions of years old.  Natural diamonds from deep in diamond mines in South Africa have been tested for C-14. These diamonds had a concentration of C-14 that would be about 100 times the minimum detectable amount.  Note that special procedures are used in the collection of these diamonds so that they are never exposed to air.  Even when all possible precautions to prevent contamination are used and very sensitive equipment is used, there is still C-14 there when it should all be gone.  This is surprising to evolutionists but makes perfact sense if Earth is only several thousand years old.  Creationist scientists in the RATE project showed that the concentrations of C-14 in these kind of materials can easily be explained if you assume the Earth is young and that the preflood world had much more carbon than it does today.  So this is starting with the assumption of a young Earth, you can explain the percent of radioactive C-14 in ancient rocks.  The preflood world had more abundant life.  The Carbon from that life, still decays today in the Earth.  This is a powerful evidence for a young Earth because it is so ubiquitous; it affects many rocks, fossils, and minerals from all over the world. To go to my 2004 newsletter article on this CLICK HERE. To read a full technical paper on this CLICK HERE.

[2] Planetary Magnetic Field Decay

    Evolutionary science claims to have an explanation of how Earth's magnetic field can be maintained for billions of years.  Earth's magnetic field has been measured by man for over 100 years and scientists have examined what is called remanent magnetism in rocks around the Earth.  It is generally accepted by scientists that Earth has in its core liquid Iron that circulates in a special way that generates Earth's magnetic field.  This mechanism is known as a dynamo, which is a kind of electromagnetic generator.  In the dynamo model, Earth is believed to have done cycles of magnetic reversals throughout the history of the Earth.  This means that for example if you were near the North pole over thousands of years of time, the magnetic field there would weaken and then reverse, making the North pole the South pole, and then it would cycle back the other way again over tens of thousands of years.  Historical measurements of Earth's magnetic field have shown the strength of the overall field of the Earth to be decreasing.  Most important in these measurements are magnetized volcanic rocks in lava flows on the continents.  The magnetic field cycles is something geologists also relate to the ocean floors and Plate Tectonics (movement of the continents, volcanoes, mountain building, etc.).  But there have always been difficulties with the dynamo theories.  Planetary scientists also apply dynamo theory to explain magnetic fields of other planets in our solar system.

    Creationist scientists have a different interpretation of the magnetic data about the Earth.  Creationist physicist Dr. Thomas Barnes once proposed Earth's magnetic field was essentially started at creation and was allowed to just decay to the present.  He related this model to historical measurements of the decreasing strength of Earth's field.  Another creationist physicist, Dr. Russell Humphreys extended and improved on the ideas of Barnes by incorporating magnetic reversals and proposing a mechanism for how reversals could happen in a young Earth.  

    Humphrey’s model of magnetic fields has been much more successful in dealing with many facts than the evolutionary dynamo models.  Not only does it make sense of remanent magnetism of rocks, it can explain how very rapid reversals could have happened during Noah's Flood.  I believe it treats the energy of Earth's field more realistically than dynamo models.  It implies that Earth's field was once much stronger before the Flood but it lost much of its energy in the Flood event.  Reversals were part of the changes of the Flood, then they ended.  Humphreys model also has been applied successfully to explain the strength of other magnetic fields of other planets and moons around our solar system.  Humphreys successfully predicted the approximate field strengths of the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune before the Voyager spacecrafts measured their fields.  His predictions were much more successful than those of evolutionary scientists believing in an old solar system.  Humphreys model for Earth led to an estimate of Earth's age of about 9,000 years.  I only summarize this here but both my website and other creationist websites have more details on Humphrey's magnetic age of the Earth.  CLICK HERE & HERE  This is one of the best evidences of a young Earth because it can be related to a lot of different geological data on the Earth, as well as other solar system objects.  Humphrey's approach presumes supernatural creation but does not presume the age of the Earth.  Humphrey's model says that Earth's magnetic field decays too fast for it to be old.  Also, Humphrey's approach explains rapid magnetic reversal data better than evolutionary models.  His model also works for other moons and planets.  

[3] Helium in Earth's Atmosphere

    Helium is a by-product of many radioactive decay processes.  Some Helium escapes into space and some escapes from the Earth's rocks into the atmosphere.  Helium is trapped in certain crystals in rocks but slowly escapes.  These Zircon crystals have been studied in the RATE creationist research project.  If Earth were very old, there would be much more Helium in Earth's atmosphere.  I did a full article on Helium Diffusion in my March 2005 newsletter about the RATE project research. In the Zircon crystals there is radioactive Uranium.  For every Uranium atom that decays, eight Helium atoms are produced.  The RATE research project measured the rate of diffusion of Helium out of the zircons.  Note that the Zircon crystals are thought to be about 1.5 billion years old by scientists.  But from the diffusion of Helium the RATE team got an age figure of 6,000 years (with an uncertainty of 2,000 yrs)!  In this research, creationists have explained the data used by evolutionists and did their own lab measurements and compared to the evolutionists results.  This seems to be a great confirmation of the Biblical time scale!  There has been some work on extending this to Argon in the atmosphere also and that seems to also argue for a young age.   

[4] Tree Rings of Bristlecone Pines

    Bristlecone Pine trees are the oldest known living things on Earth.  They are very very long-lived trees and they are able to survive dry conditions.  I wrote a full article on these trees in my April 2007 newsletter.  There is a particular Bristlecone Pine tree that has been called the "Methuselah" tree, after the man listed in Genesis 5 who is said to have lived 969 years.  The Methuselah tree is estimated to be 4,700 years old.  This age would be just about right for the tree to have sprouted right after Noah's Flood, since Noah's Flood would be about 4,500 years ago.  The 4,700 year figure should not be taken as exact.  The true age could be somewhat less.  

    Evolutionists actually believe that these trees can be up to 10,000 years in age.  But it has been thoroughly demonstrated that an age of 10,000 is impossible and they are due to errors in interpreting the tree rings.  Sometimes scientists have assumed that there was one tree ring per year, thus you count the tree rings to determine the age.  But even two trees right next to each other can have different numbers of tree rings.  These trees seem to vary how their rings grow based on the surrounding conditions.  So it is possible to have multiple rings per year and this is actually more likely for these trees in times of drought.  It is not that it is impossible for these trees to live longer than 4,700 years, but they have not lived longer than that.  The reason is these trees started growing after Noah's Flood.  We may not be able to be exact on the age of these trees, but it seems to be true that no tree is older than 4,500 years.  This is also true for other very old trees such as Sequoias.  This agrees with the Genesis time scale.

[5] The Length of Recorded History

    This is a very simple and obvious problem that is not explained in an evolutionary view of the history of our planet.  Evolutionists believe that modern homo sapiens like us first evolved about 200,000 years ago.  But recorded history only goes back approximately 4 to 5 thousand years.  Why?  How is it that humans never did any writing for so long?  Some cave paintings are believed to be in the range of 35,000 to 40,000 years old based on carbon dating.  But these carbon dates can be questioned.  In less than 5,000 years of recorded history, human beings have gone from stone tools to landing on the Moon, yet there was supposedly over 100,000 years where humans did not learn to write, and nothing man-made was preserved from that time!  What was wrong with human beings for over 100,000 years?  It is more reasonable to just accept the Biblical view of history, which says Earth was created about 6,000 years ago and the global Flood happened about 4,500 years ago.  In just a few generations after Adam and Eve, the descendants of Cain had already learned how to make bronze and musical instruments (see Genesis 4:20-22).

[6] Decay of the Human Genome

    Genetic mutations, though considered part of the mechanism for the evolution of life, causes many medical conditions including cancer and infectious diseases.  It has been estimated that each individual human gets at least 100 new mutations every generation.  This is an astonishing rate of mutations!  This rate of mutations cannot be overcome by natural selection in the evolution of living things.  There is no way to stop the degradation of our species (or of animals).  This degradation is due to mankind's fall into sin in the time of Adam and Eve.  This is such a frequent rate of mutations that it has prompted creationist biologists to work on the problem of how long would it take for all humans to go extinct from the negative health effects of mutations?  How this is estimated is rather technical (you can read it here).  But for a human population of 10 billion (a little more than today's global population) it would take about 30,000 years.  But remember, evolutionists say homo sapiens evolved 200,000 years ago.  What was the population then?  Lets be optimistic and assume the population 200,000 years ago was 1,000.  (Note that evolution implies humans could not start with only one couple like Adam and Eve, there would have to be at least hundreds. This is how even theistic evolution denies the existence of Adam and Eve.)  By this scenario of starting with 1,000 homo sapiens, humans would go extinct in about 8,400 years because of all the negative health effects of mutations.  So the question arises, if the Earth is old, how can we still be here today?  It is much more plausible to say Earth is young, and the length of human history is almost the history of the world.  The non-recorded part of human history is the approximately 1600 years prior to the Flood plus a short time after the Flood.

    These are just a selection of a few of the better evidences for the Earth being only several thousand years old, as the Bible implies.  More could be listed.  In June of 2009, I wrote an article called “Why Recent Creation?” which was published on the website of Answers in Genesis.  Below is something I said at the end of the article.  It is also appropriate here as a concluding thought.

“Good science does not conflict with Scripture; scientists biased against the God of the Bible do—those who refuse to accept their Creator or who do not regard His Word as it is written. We cannot, as Christians, give in to the pressure to accept an old age for the world. Because it is the written revelation of One who cannot lie, the biblical history is sound and is confirmed by strong scientific evidence—just as we would expect.

That said, we should exercise patience as we deal with others around us who take an old-age viewpoint. There is a need to make people aware of the evidence that confirms a young earth and that the Bible can be trusted wholly—but it must be done with grace and prayer.”

GO TO AnswersInGenesis website article quoted above.


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