I’ve heard it for the longest time: Biblical creation cannot be true because radiometric dating proves an old earth! And my Christian friends and family buy right into it cause “science says so”. Who wants to go against the mighty science, right? This guy does!
I find it ridiculous that the notion of radiometric dating’s 4.5 billion years disproves a Biblical timeline of 6000 years. To me that’s like comparing apples and oranges! But… I get it. I see why it’s accepted. It appears to make sense. You’ve taken the decay rate observed and repeated in the present and extrapolated that to all of history. Where could you possibly go wrong? Well, I think you forgot to mention one tiny assumptive secret: uniformism!
What in the world is uniformism? As it applies to this topic, uniformism is the assumption that the way things tick along today is the same way they have for all of history. Seems like a safe enough assumption, right? I mean if the decay rate sped up or changed at all we’d be in nuclear meltdown, right? Who could possibly save us from that? Well – if there’s a God, then He could do technically do “anything”, right? But, let’s get back to it…
Now, here’s the kicker… I believe the Bible outlines three major world-altering events that if true, put a kink in the assumption of uniformism. Once that uniformism is broken, we can no longer use decay rates to reach an age of the earth… uh-oh! So, let’s hear it.
1) A 6-day creation. If all life literally popped into existence mid-life cycle like the Bible reads, then there would be a built-in apparent age to the creation. In other words a full-grown Adam would not date 1 day old on day 7. The same goes for the rocks and trees, right?
2) A cursed world following sin. If God cursed the world following the original sin of Adam and Eve, then this is the point where decay would have initiated… not the beginning. The implications of sin leading to death seem to indicate that we were created to never die, i.e. perfect. Therefore the decay process cannot be traced back to “the beginning”, but only to the curse. We are studying an altered version of the original created world.
3) The global flood. If God truly destroyed the entire world through a cataclysmic deluge, then it is possible that this supernatural geologic event could have increased decay rates. The 8-year RATE project conducted by 8 PhDs discovered that at some point between 4-14,000 years ago there were short episodes where 1.5 billion years of accelerated decay took place. (More info on that research here)
While reading these did you find yourself digging up evidences you’ve been recited before about long ages of the earth? I hope you quickly realized that all these evidences were based on that same assumption of uniformism. You see, you can’t use those evidences against these events…. cause if these events actually happened, then uniformism itself fails.
Do we have faith these events occurred? Sure. Are you willing to admit that you too have faith in uniformism? Ooh, ouch. Is it possible that old-earthers and young-earthers are both in the same boat? Both making interpretations of past events based on assumptions! Alright, now we’re getting somewhere.
What’s the bottom line? The bottom line is that radiometric dating cannot prove old ages to a Biblical creationist. You really are comparing apples and oranges. This is not a battle of evidence. This is a battle of starting assumptions. Whose are right? If the creationists are right, then their rational reinterpretation of the evidence makes sense. If the naturalistic assumption of uniformism is correct, then long ages make sense.
Another bottom line closer to my heart is Christians who already accept the supernatural but feel the need to compromise the Biblical timeline because “science says so”. I hope this post helps you see, that once you accept the supernatural, and if you have any faith whatsoever in the Bible as a reliable document, then you have absolutely no reason to believe in long ages. I realize there are going to be more questions: what about dinosaurs, what about Cain – where would he get a wife, what about the fossils, distant starlight, etc. Please come to my site www.gracewithsalt.com and read our FAQ. The Bible offers answers to all these issues.
Let me clear, this is not a salvation issue. This is a consistency issue. I hope Christians will learn to accurately defend their faith, because with every confused answer, more and more people are turning their back on God when it’s not even necessary! God bless.
“You must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and… They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised… everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”
– 2 Peter 3: 3-6