Scientific Evidence for the Age of the Universe
by Rich Deem

Introduction

This is not a complete list of the evidence from creation that the Earth is ancient, but is sufficient to provide a reasonable support for the idea. The Bible is not silent on the issue, since even Genesis (the first book of the Bible) declares that the mountains and hills are ancient.1 Most of the evidence presented does not give an exact age of the universe, but just a lower minimum age. Many have complained that the measurements of the age of the universe are based upon assumptions that are questionable. However, recent studies have calculated the vast distances to astronomical sources based upon geometry! The calculation of distances using triangulation require no assumptions, but are based purely upon mathematical principles.

Why must we, who trust the Bible, believe the testimony of the creation? The Bible tells us that the creation declares the truth about God:

Geometric measurements of quasar 3C 279 now establish that the universe is at least 5.9 billion light years across. Since light cannot travel faster than the speed of light, the light from that quasar must have been traveling for 5.9 billion years. The alternative young earth explanation is that God created the light in transit. However, we know that quasars existed only during the beginning of the universe, since none are seen closer to us than billions of light years. If God created light in transit, He would have created the light in transit from a quasar that does not now exist. Likewise, we have observed supernova explosions in galaxies millions of light years away. If God created light in transit from these objects, He would have made the light from an object that does not now exist, since it appeared to have blown up millions of years before the universe was actually created. How can the universe declare the glory and righteousness of God if it declares a lie? Like many young earth doctrines, the appearance of age argument is nowhere taught in the Bible.

Here is the testimony from the creation about the glory of God. It is still under construction, since I have been adding to it as I find new studies in the literature.

Rocks (and other parts of the creation) of Ages
God's Creation Proclaims Minimum Age of the Universe (yrs.)
Deuterium abundance and mass density 19 billion
Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect 18 billion
Nucleochronology (decay of radioactive nuclides) 17 billion
Anthropic principles 17 billion
Star color luminosity fitting (Chaboyer) 14 billion
Expansion of the universe (WMAP) 13.8 billion
Galaxy lenses time delay (Saha) 13.5 billion
Age of oldest stars (U/Th, U/Ir, Th/Eu, and Th/Os dating) 13.2 billion
Spectral line of Uranium-238 (half-life=4.5 billion years) (Cayrel) 12.5 billion
Supernova standard candles (Watson) 12 billion
Globular Clusters (Chaboyer, Peterson, D'Antona) 12 billion
Gravitational lensing (Kundic, Falco) 11 billion
Light travel-time based on quasar-light source 10 billion
Cepheids (Freedman) 9 billion
Expanding photosphere (Schmidt) 9 billion
Star stream interactions in galaxies 8 billion
Geometric measurement to the quasar 3C 279 (Homan) 5.9 billion
Age of moon rocks 4.5 billion
Age of meteorites 4.5 billion
Accumulation of space dust on the moon (at the measured rate of about 2 nanograms per square centimeter per year) 4.5 billion
Relaxation times of star clusters 4 billion
Erosion on Mercury Mars, and Moon 4 billion
Age of earth rocks 4 billion
Length of days of coral fossils (coral reference) 370 million
Accumulation of sodium in the oceans (sodium reference) 260 million
Rate of continental drift to form the the Atlantic Ocean 200 million
Reversals of the earth's magnetic pole recorded in the Atlantic Ocean sea bottom 80 million
Erosion of the Grand Canyon 25 million
Geometric measurement to the galaxy NGC4258 (Hernstein) 23.5 million
Carbonate deposits: The Great Bahama Bank, off the coast of Florida, has multiple layers over 14,500 feet thick (Anselmetti) 12.4 million
There are sedimentary rock formations on Mars that are over 4 kilometers thick. Such layers would require tens to hundreds of millions of years of running water to form. In addition there must have been millions of years for all the water to have disappeared, since Mars is now extremely dry. (View pictures from the article) (Malin) 10 million
Ooids (small spheroidal bodies): Formation for adding many layers of mineral deposits involves massive time elements. (Algeo) >7 million
The Green River annual layers (alternating Summer calcium carbonate and Winter organic layers) 4 million
Geometric measurement to the galaxy M33 (Brunthaler) 2.4 million
Evaporites: When bodies of salt water are trapped so that circulation is limited, evaporation produces precipitation of calcium carbonate, then calcium sulfate and finally calcium chloride out of the water. Each layer takes several years to form. The Delaware Basin formation is 1,300 feet thick, consisting of 200,000 layers, requiring at least 600,000 years to form. The Mediterranean Sea floor is underlain by about 7,000 feet of evaporites, requiring millions of years to form and evaporation of a 60 miles depth of salt water. >3 million
Length of time that surface rocks have been exposed to cosmic rays (extinct volcanoes in Nevada) 830,000
Huge stalactites, stalagmites, and columns in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico (Carlsbad reference) 500,000
Vostok ice core in Antarctica (Petit) 420,000
Thickness of coral reefs 130,000
Organic banks (The Capitan Reef of West Texas, 2,000 feet thick in places, with fossilized remains of organisms.) 100,000
Radiocarbon dating of wood (upper limit of dating method) 50,000
Bristlecone pine trees in California 10,000

Dolomite formation: Replacement of calcium carbonate particles in lime sediment or lime rock gives strong evidence of vast amounts of time required. Rate is as slow as 200 million years/mm. (Arvidson)

millions


References Top of page

  1. Your father's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers. (Genesis 49:26)
  2. Chaboyer, B., P. Demarque, P.J. Kernan, and L.M. Krauss. 1996. A Lower Limit on the Age of the Universe. Science 271: 957-961.
    D. N. Spergel, R. Bean, O. Doré, M. R. Nolta, C. L. Bennett, J. Dunkley, G. Hinshaw, N. Jarosik, E. Komatsu, L. Page, H. V. Peiris, L. Verde, M. Halpern, R. S. Hill, A. Kogut, M. Limon, S. S. Meyer, N. Odegard, G. S. Tucker, J. L. Weiland, E. Wollack, E. L. Wright. 2007. Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Three Year Results: Implications for Cosmology. Astrophysics arXiv:astro-ph/0603449v2.
  3. Saha, P., J. Coles, A. V. Macciò, and L. L. R. Williams. 2006. The Hubble Time Inferred from 10 Time Delay Lenses. The Astrophysical Journal 650: L17-L20.
  4. Frebel, A.,  N. Christlieb, J. E. Norris, C. Thom, T. C. Beers, and J. Rhee. 2007. Discovery of HE 1523-0901, a Strongly r-Process–enhanced Metal-poor Star with Detected Uranium. Astrophysical Journal, 660:L117-L120.
  5. Cayrel, R., V. Hill, T. C. Beers, B. Barbuy, M. Spite, F. Spite, B. Plez, J. Anderson, P. Bonifacio, P. Francois, P. Molaro, B. Nordstrom, F. Primas. 2001. Measurement of stellar age from uranium decay. Nature 409, 691-692.
  6. Watson, A. 1998. Cosmology: The Universe Shows Its Age. Science 279: 981-983
  7. Homan, D.C. and J.F.C. Wardle. 2000. Direct distance measurements to superluminal radio sources. Astrophysical Journal 535: 575-585.
  8. Scientific observation shows that erosion of the Grand Canyon takes place at a rate of 1 ft. every 5,000 years. If the Canyon started out flat, it would take 25,000,000 years for the Colorado river to erode 5000 ft of the Grand Canyon. (library.thinkquest.org)
  9. Hernstein, et al. 1999. A geometric distance to the galaxy NGC 4258 from orbital motions in a nuclear gas disk. Nature 400: 539-541.
  10. Flavio S. Anselmetti, Gregor P. Eberli, and Zan-Dong Ding. 2000. From the Great Bahama Bank into the Straits of Florida: A margin architecture controlled by sea-level fluctuations and ocean currents. GSA Bulletin 112: 829-844.
  11. Malin, M.C. and K. S. Edgett. 2000. Sedimentary Rocks of Early Mars. Science 290: 1927-1937. (View pictures from the article)
    Kerr, R.A. 2000. PLANETARY SCIENCE: A Dripping Wet Early Mars Emerging From New Pictures. Science 290: 1879-1880
  12. Algeo, T.J., and Watson, B.A., 1995, Calcite, aragonite, and bimineralic ooids in Missourian (Upper Pennsylvanian) strata of Kansas: Stratigraphic and geographic patterns of variation, in Pausé, P.H., and Candelaria, M.P., eds., Carbonate Facies and Sequence Stratigraphy: Practical Applications of Carbonate Models: Permian Basin Section SEPM, Publ. 95-36, p. 141-173.
  13. Brunthaler, A., M. J. Reid, H. Falcke, L. J. Greenhill, C. Henkel. 2005. The Geometric Distance and Proper Motion of the Triangulum Galaxy (M33). Science 307:1440.
  14. Because of the tidal interaction with the moon, the rotation of the earth is gradually slowing, by about 0.005 seconds per year. About 370 million years ago, each day would have been only 22.7 hours long! Studies of rugose coral fossils that were independently estimated to be 370 million years old revealed that when they were alive a day lasted about 22 hours. This relationship has been confirmed with other coral fossils.
  15. If we assumed that all of the minerals which are carried by rivers into the oceans remains trapped in the oceans, then it would take 260 million years for the concentration of sodium to reach its present level (assuming plankton, fish and plants do not adsorb sodium, which they do).
  16. Carlsbad column - Photo Courtesy of National Park Service
    Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
    Huge stalactites, stalagmites, and columns (over 50 feet high and over 30 feet in diameter) exist in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The rate of deposition of minerals is such that the structures must be at least 500,000 years old. There is no way to increase the rate of deposition, since increasing the flow of water merely produces a waterfall and decreasing the flow of water produces no deposition. (carlsbad.caverns.national-park.com)
  17. Petit et al. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436.
  18. Bristlecone PineThe coral reef at Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific Ocean has been measured to have a thickness of up to 4,610 feet. Even the most optimistic coral growth rates would require that the atoll be over 130,000 years of age.
  19. Some bristlecone pine trees in California date back to 2500 BC. But their tree rings have been matched with those of dead trees; this shows that the latter germinated about 7000 BC
  20. Arvidson, R. S. and FRED T. MACKENZIE. 1999. The dolomite problem; control of precipitation kinetics by temperature and saturation state. American J. of Science 299: 257–288.

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Last updated June 25, 2007

 

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