How old is the earth according to the Bible?
Thousands of years, or millions of years?
THE BIBLE IS CLEAR THAT ADAM, THE FIRST MAN, LIVED ONLY 6000 YEARS AGO. God created Adam directly from the earth on the sixth day of Creation Week. There was no evolution involved. So according to the Bible, the earth must be 6000 years old.
The following timeline by Theodore Pederson appeared in The Christian News, March 26, 2001, page 18 [with one error corrected — Creation Tips editor].
How old is the earth?
If we go back 500 years, we come to the time of Martin Luther (born in 1483), and Columbus, who “sailed the ocean blue in 1492.”
If we go back 1000 years, we come to the time of Leif Ericson, Christian explorer, who preached Christ to pagans. (World Book, 1983, vol.6, page 270.)
If we go back 2000 years, we come to the birth of Jesus Christ. Our calendar is dated from His birth.
If we go back 3000 years, we come to the time of David and Solomon; they ruled Israel about 1000 BC.
If we go back 4000 years, we come to the time of Abraham (2000 BC), ancestor of Arabs and Jews.
If we go back 5000 years, we approach the birth year of Noah, who followed God's command to build an Ark to preserve life through the worldwide flood.
If we go back 6000 years, we come to the time of Creation, and Adam and Eve (4004 BC). Luke, evangelist and historian, records Adam as the first man (Luke 3:38).
The earth is about 6000 years old. Let God's people rejoice in Him who made them! (Psalm 149:2)
If not, then when?
Although many people don't accept the Bible's timeline of history, they have difficulty deciding exactly when to start disagreeing with it.
- Was Jesus Christ real? The Bible says he was, and no serious historian doubts it.
- Was King David real? The Bible says he was. Again, there is no reason to doubt it.
- Was Abraham real? The Bible says he was. There seems no reason to doubt this either.
- Was Noah real? The Bible says he was, and Jesus Christ confirmed it (Matthew 24:38). There is no reason to think the Bible has suddenly lapsed into fiction.
- Was Adam real? Well, the Bible says he was, and the essential theological doctrine of sin comes from Adam's disobedience. If Adam wasn't real there would have been no need for Christ to come to earth in human form and die to pay for the sins of mankind.
And Adam was the first man, created in the first week of the earth's existence.
According to the Bible, he lived about 6000 years ago. So according to the Bible, the world also is about 6000 years old.
Irish Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656), pictured at right, calculated a similar date.
In his famous work The Annals of the World, Ussher used the Masoretic text of the Bible to come up with fairly precise dates for people and events mentioned in the Bible. His calculations led him to determine that God created the universe on 23 October, 4004 BC.
Other Bible historians and scholars always come up with a date not far from Ussher's, because even if you use slightly different methods for determining Bible chronology, you can't get away from the fact that the Bible will point you to a date of creation about 6000 years ago.
For more detailed articles, see the Answers in Genesis article How old is the earth?, and the Creation Ministries International article How old is the earth? For evidence that radiometric dating methods may be unreliable, see Physicist Russell Humphreys' paper Evidence for a Young World.