age of earth
The ages of the earth’s components and neighboring bodies are additional pieces in the elementary puzzle of evaluating the Torah's accuracy. While every relevant branch of science plainly supports the existence of life on this planet for billions of years, the Torah undeniably claims that life began only about 6000 years ago. Thus, I included this chapter to reveal the information we have that enables us to place a true age on our planet, its contents, and our celestial neighbors. You should soon understand that there’s no logical way to harmonize the two conflicting accounts respectively provided by science and the Torah. When rendering a verdict on the ages of these objects, I hope you will adhere to observable data rather than succumbing to blind faith. The material contained within this chapter is an expansion of similar ideas offered in Science To The Rescue.
Dating The Earth
Although the Torah doesn’t directly state that the earth itself is only 6000 years old, a moderate amount of common sense will verify this is the position it must take. Expanding on this point, the book ambiguously states that God created the earth “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). However, the earth could not have logically formed prior to the sun (even though BERESHIS Genesis says just the opposite), which is verifiably alluded to be 6000 years old in the Torah. We’re also able to observe planets in other solar systems consistently forming after their celestial anchors. In fact, it’s scientifically impossible for life to thrive on a planet without a proximate location to a star. Thus, Creationists feel compelled to discover evidence for a young planet in order for their dogma to remain inerrant. Even though an overwhelming amount of data suggests that the earth is older than 6000 years, these self-ordained “scientists” are not looking for any evidence disputing their a priori beliefs. This method of research is, to say the least, blatantly dishonest. Those of us viewing all the data from an unbiased perspective can throw out everything we know about astronomy and assume that the earth is a unique case where the planet formed before its star, yet still have more than ample evidence to debunk the young earth claim.
Only after the technique of radiometric dating arrived on the scene could geologists offer such an accurate guess on the earth’s age. Equipped with this knowledge, scientists can now measure quantities of radioactive elements within the earth’s rocks. Researchers have performed this impartial scientific analysis on several thousand rock samples located deep within the fossil columns, and the results are consistently in the billions of years for samples estimated to be this ancient via more primitive dating methods. Although researchers believe that early volcanic activity is responsible for destroying the earth’s oldest rocks, we can still be certain that specimens exceeding four billion years in age are very much in existence. Similar to the rocks on the earth, most meteorites eventually finding their way onto our planet date at four billion years as well.
In addition to radiometric tests, we can date rocks by measuring the length of their subjected exposure to cosmic rays. The observable aging occurs when a neutrino, a type of subatomic particle, strikes a rock and reacts with certain minerals to form a measurable amount of radioactive isotope. Using this analysis, rocks in undisturbed desert locations are determined to be hundreds of thousands of years old, while rocks thought to be relatively new, based on independent tests, indicate an age of only a few thousand years.
As I mentioned in Why Noah’s Story Doesn’t Float, we can use DNA as a timepiece. In addition to revealing that humans had a common ancestor tens of thousands of years ago, our DNA indicates that we had a much more distant common ancestor with bacteria billions of years in the past. While there are several more sources I could reference that would successfully defend the undeniable antiquity of the earth, such as the evidence for numerous magnetic pole reversals in the Atlantic Ocean, I trust that you get the important message from all this data. Simply put, the overwhelming amount of evidence points toward an ancient earth. Apologetically proposed evidence to the contrary, can be easily refuted.
Dating The Heavenly Bodies
The authors of Genesis would also have their readers believe that God created the stars on the universe’s fourth day (1:16), about 6000 years ago. However, modern observations tell us that the most distant stars are considerably more than ten billion years in age. Astronomers obtained this valuable piece of knowledge by looking through the powerful Hubble telescope and performing complex number crunching over the discoveries. Because we have applicable procedures for measuring distances this great, such as redshift and parallax (too complicated to get into here), we know the approximate location of distant stars. Since we also know the universal speed of light emanating from these stars, we can now determine that it took the light x amount of years to reach the observing telescope, where x represents the distance of the star divided by the distance light can transverse in one year. Therefore, stars must be at least as old as the time it takes their light to reach the earth from the previously measured distance. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see these stars because their light wouldn’t have reached our eyes yet. In other words, if we are able to see a group of stars ten billion light years away, the distance light can travel in ten billion years, we know that the group of stars is at least ten billion years old because it took the light ten billion years to reach us.
How can light from a star be billions of years old if God created the star only 6000 years ago? The hilarious apologetic answer to this glaring complication is often that “God created the stars 6000 years ago but created their light in transit for us to be able to see them.” To paraphrase this proposal, God is making us see things that never really happened. This suggestion is a classic example of what has been termed a “how-it-could-have-been-scenario,” which substitutes a painfully ridiculous and nonsensical explanation for the obvious answer in the interest of apologetics. It seems that no complication is too difficult for some Rabbinical Scholars and fundamentalist Christians to invent absurd justifications even though they will consider these acts to be logical violations when used by other religious sects to justify alternative beliefs.
Thanks to the astronauts who visited the moon and returned with rock samples, we’re able to use radiometric dating on lunar rocks as well. Sure enough, the rocks found on the moon’s surface consistently date around three to four billion years. However, scientists calculated the approximate age of the moon well before specimens were ever available for testing. The number of craters gave astronomers the primary clue.
The earth, sun, moon, and stars are billions of years old. Plants and animals have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Man first appeared tens of thousands of years ago. Every piece of falsifiable evidence from every relevant branch of science tells us that these statements are undeniably accurate. The fallible authors of the Torah unambiguously purport that God created all these objects about 6000 years ago because they didn’t have access to the technology utilized by contemporary scientists. The only individuals still hanging onto this outdated superstitious belief are the ones who desperately cling to dying apologetic agendas. Others have unsuccessfully sought to rectify the Genesis account with preferential scientific discoveries.
The erroneous biblical claim of the earth’s creation is yet another reason why many Jews have now turned their backs on a literal interpretation of the creation tale. If we allow other religions the same amount of leniency, could we ever possibly determine which one is making the legitimate claims? Due to the overwhelming amount of observable, testable, and falsifiable evidence, we can comfortably denounce the proclaimed authenticity of the Torah solely on its erroneous, pseudoscientific claims.
The Tentative Verdict For Science Versus The Torah
The suggestion that the Torah is lacking a scientific foundation is nothing less than a colossal understatement. The Torah has failed fair, impartial, and universally applicable tests in multiple fields of science. If God truly is the inspiration behind this purportedly divine declaration to the world, he shows absolutely no interest in its understandability or accuracy in astronomy, cosmology, zoology, botany, anthropology, geology, ecology, geography, physiology. In fact, the Torah handicaps those who use their “God-given” talents of reason and logic to settle blatant biblical problems. Nothing can be more detrimental to the authenticity of a statement than contradictory phenomena that we readily observe and experience. With no other evidence to consider, these natural manifestations should always override what we might hope and think to be correct explanations for unignorable discrepancies. Such is the power of science and reason. They are the impartial pursuit of an answer to a question, not the search for supplements to a predetermined answer.