Appearance of Age - A Young Earth Problem
by Rich Deem

Introduction

"God created the universe and earth fully formed and mature." Many young earth creationists claim that the universe and earth just appear to be old, but are really young. Frequently cited to support such a view are scriptures that indicate God created Adam as an adult, and Jesus created wine that appeared to be aged.

Appearance of age vs. history

According to appearance of age advocates, God created Adam with the appearance of age, since he seems to have been created as an adult. The Bible says that Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Didn't this wine have the appearance of age? There are two major problems with these analogies. First, neither the body of Adam nor the wine of Cana is available for inspection. The creation is still here. Second, the analogies confuse appearance of age with appearance of history. The creation appears to have a long history, not just an appearance of age or maturity.

Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding CreationDid Adam have an appearance of history? Did he have a navel from a birth that never happened? Were his teeth worn at his creation, even though he had never eaten? Did Adam have calluses on his feet even though he had never walked? The Bible does not address these issues, and since Adam's body is not available, we have no idea of the answers to these questions. Does the Bible compare Adam's body to the creation? No! The analogy has no biblical basis and is based upon conjecture alone.

Does the wine of Cana have an appearance of history? According to the biblical account, Jesus ordered waterpots to be filled with water and, immediately, the water had become wine.1 Did it have an appearance of history? If the wine had been in wineskins (like the original wine) then one might say that it appeared to have been aged in the wineskins. However, the wine was still in the waterpots. It had no appearance of history. Does the Bible compare the wine of Cana to the creation? No! Like Adam's body, the wine of Cana analogy has no biblical basis and is based upon conjecture alone.

History of the creation

I am going to digress somewhat, since I want to support my contention that the creation has an appearance of history. Following this section, we will examine what the Bible says about the testimony of the creation.

There are a number of different scientific techniques and measurements that indicate that the universe and earth have a long history. For example, the red-shift of distant objects (Doppler effect) indicates that the universe is at least 14 billion years old. The most distant objects in the universe exhibit the largest red-shift values, which one would predict from a universe the Bible claims is expanding.2 Star color luminosity fitting indicates that the universe must be at least 14 billion years old.3 The decay of Uranium-238, seen in its Spectral line in distant objects shows the universe to be at least 12.5 billion years old.4 Supernova standard candles indicate that the universe is a minimum of 12 billion years old.5 Globular Clusters show that the universe is a minimum of 12 billion years old.6 Gravitational lensing indicates it is at least 11 billion years old.7 Light travel-time based on quasar-light sources indicates that they are a minimum of 10 billion years old. Cepheid variable stars are a minimum of 9 billion years old.8 Expanding photosphere indicates that at least some stars are a minimum of 9 billion years old.9 Star stream interactions in galaxies indicate that they are at least 8 billion years old. All these different ways of measuring the age of the universe come to the same conclusion - that the universe is a minimum of billions of year old. Since these measurements are based upon different techniques, it would be extremely unlikely that they are all wrong.

These studies are somewhat technical, but others use easily understandable concepts. For example, geometric measurement to the quasar 3C 279 indicates that the quasar is 5.9 billion light years away.10 Either the light from that quasar has been traveling for 5.9 billion years or God created a deceptive light that does not really exist at that point in space. Even easier to understand are the annual layers found at multiple site throughout the world. Carbonate deposits from the Great Bahama Bank, off the coast of Florida, has multiple layers over 14,500 feet thick, representing 12.4 million years of annual deposits. This is not rocket science - scientists need only count the layers to determine the period of time over which they were laid down. Deposits from the Green River are seen as annual layers  of alternating Summer calcium carbonate and Winter organic layers. There are four million of these alternating layers, which could not have been formed by one single event, like the great flood. Many other examples of layer have been found all over the earth, including 420,000 year old ice cores from Antarctica.

In examining our Solar System, one needs to ask why God created Mercury, the Moon, and Mars completely covered with craters whereas there are almost none visible on the earth. Did God feel it was necessary to make these worlds look like they had been bombarded for millions of years with meteors? Was God so bored that He decided to throw millions of rocks at these bodies? Why did God feel the need to create the 110 mile diameter Chicxulub crater beneath Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula? On what creation day did He do this? Why are there large amounts of iridium in this crater, which is also found in meteors and in the sedimentary layers that demark the boundary of the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods?

The testimony of creation according to the Bible

If one is teaching that God created the universe and earth to look old, shouldn't he be able to cite some sort of biblical evidence detailing that God actually did this? On the other hand, if God created the universe to testify of His truthfulness, then one would expect to be able to find biblical support for that position. It turns out that there is zero biblical support that God created any part of His creation to merely look old. In contrast, David tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God and speak to the entire universe of this glory:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)

Job says that the creatures of the earth and the earth itself declares that all creation is the work of the hand of the Lord:

"But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. "Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. "Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? "Does not the ear test words, As the palate tastes its food? (Job 12:7-11)

Paul says that God has revealed the reality of his existence and attributes through His creation. The testimony is so strong that unbelievers are without excuse in rejecting God, even with only the testimony of creation.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

Does the creation declare that one of God's attributes is that He likes things to look old, even though they are young?

Evidence according to the Bible

Is the Christian faith based upon belief alone, in spite of any evidence? What does the Bible say we are to do with physical evidence? The Bible says that Christians are to be able to answer questions about our faith. Peter says we are to give reasons for our faith, not just some touchy-feely response.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15)

Mankind was created as part of God's good creation. Did our Creator make us with such severely hampered senses and mental abilities that we cannot ever trust what our senses tell us? Ultimately, the appearance of age doctrine denies either the reliability of our senses or the reality of God's creation. Both positions are biblically unsound.

Can we trust our senses?

The Bible makes a big deal about things that are observable about our faith. John makes this appeal in his first epistle:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life-- (1 John 1:1)

Other disciples reported the evidence that they had seen and heard regarding the nature of Jesus Christ. Peter, in his second epistle, said that he had personally heard God the Father say, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased."11 Peter believed what his senses had reported to him and told the religious leaders that he could not stop teaching about Jesus because of what he had "seen and heard."12 Paul was told that he would witness the truth of the gospel from what his senses had seen and heard during his Damascus road conversion.13 Jesus encouraged people to listen to Him and understand what He said.14 He openly chided the disciples who weren't trying to understand His teaching.15 Jesus told John's disciples to report back to John what they had "seen and heard."16 Jesus expected people to use their senses and minds to understand the truths He was telling them.

Do we look for evidence or just believe?

Obviously, faith is important to God, since the Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith.17 However, in order to believe in the reality of the promises of God, one must be convinced that the Bible is an accurate record of God's word. The Bereans were commended by Luke because they actually looked for evidence that the scriptures were true:

And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17:12)

When someone claims to be a prophet of God, do we just accept his pronouncements on faith? No! The Bible says to test those claims to see if they come true.

"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22)

Jesus told His disciples to use this same method to confirm His own claims about Himself:

"And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe. (John 14:29)

When disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was the Expected One,18 He answered by asking them to examine the evidence:

And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. (Luke 7:22)

Jesus expected people to examine the evidence of His power and predictions in order to know who He was.

The Bible describes many historical events. It says to look at the evidence that is left from the historical events to determine if they actually occurred. Much of this evidence has disappeared after thousands of years, but it was present at the time the accounts were written and served as proof of the Bible's claims. For example, the Bible claims that all the following evidence was available to those who would want to verify the truth of the history presented:

Never do we find an author of the Bible arguing that God's Word is in opposition to history (i.e., that there is only an appearance of history). The Bible tells us to look at the evidence to determine what is true. In order to actually be true, the evidence must actually reveal what is true and we must be able to recognize the evidence and determine its validity. The ideas that we cannot trust the reliability of our own senses or the reality what we see in God's creation are unbiblical ideas that are directly contradicted by the Bible.

Does God deceive?

God can do anything. The question is not what He can do, but what He actually does. There are a number of verses that indicate that the God of the Bible does not (and even cannot) lie:

If the creation really declares God's glory and righteousness wouldn't one expect it to be truthful? In contrast to the lack of support for analogies of age for the creation, there are many verses that support the idea that God's creation does declare the truth about itself and the truthfulness and righteousness of God:

Not only does the Bible say that God never lies, but it declares that God's creation does not lie. The appearance of age doctrine is directly refuted by the Bible itself.

How does this relate to the universe?

The objects seen in the heavens are so extraordinary that the Bible warns us not to be drawn to worship them.29 God made them this way so that we could see the reality of His awesome power. The heavens are filled with historical events that we can see today with our eyes. How can this be? you ask. The heavens do not reveal the present, but only the past. The light from the moon requires over one second to arrive at earth. We see the moon as it appeared over one second ago. The light from the Sun takes eight minutes to arrive at earth. The Sun is not even in the same location in the sky where we actually see it! The light from the nearest star is how it appeared four years ago. We see the light from the stars at the edge of our galaxy as they appeared nearly 100,000 years ago. The light from our closest galaxy neighbor reveals what it looked like 2 million years ago. Using geometrical methods, we have measured the distances to objects as far as 5.9 billion light years away.

The Bible was first to claim that God caused objects in the universe to be moving away from each other as He spread them out.30 The speed at which these objects are moving away from us is proportional to the distance from us (obviously, faster moving objects will have moved farther away from us over time). Light from these fast moving objects is red-shifted - that is, the light waves are stretched out so that their color appears to be more toward the red end of the spectrum. By examining the amount of this red-shift and comparing it to objects of known distance, we can determine that the farthest objects seen to date are over 13 billion light years away.

Here is where the appearance of age argument distorts the reality of God's creation. Since we know that objects in the universe are 13 billion years away, it must have taken the light 13 billion years to reach us. Therefore, the universe must be at least 13 billion years old. Either God created the universe at least 13 billion years ago or He deceived us by making it seem to be 13 billion years old. The history of the universe, which we can see right now, tells us the truth about God's creation. Since the Bible makes it clear that God does not deceive or lie to us, we must accept the history of His creation, which He has purposely left us as a testimony of His power, truth, and righteousness.

Conclusions Top of page

Appearance of age claims that God created a world with a false history. Such a claim is directly refuted by the Bible, which claims that God's creation declares His glory and righteousness. Nowhere does any biblical author make the claim that God's word contradicts any historical facts.  Ultimately, the claim that the God of creation would lie to us with a false history of the universe, is a direct attack on the righteous character of God and cannot be tolerated within the Church! The God who would deceive His creatures with lies is not the God of the Bible. A Christian friend first presented this deceiver God to me as a senior in high school. Assuming he was correct, I rejected the "God of the Bible" as being unworthy of my worship. It wasn't until many years later that I read the Bible for myself and came to faith in Jesus Christ - the God who is the truth31 - my Creator. Why are those who advocate a deceiver God surprised when unbelievers reject their unrighteous God?



References Top of page

  1. Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter." And they took it to him. And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now." (John 2:6-10)
  2. The Bible first proposed the expanding universe model thousands of years before it became a scientifically viable theory. At least 11 verses claim God stretched out the heavens when He created them:
    • Who alone stretches out the heavens, And tramples down the waves of the sea; (Job 9:8)
    • Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (Psalm 104:2)
    • It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)
    • Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk in it, (Isaiah 42:5)
    • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, And spreading out the earth all alone" (Isaiah 44:24)
    • "It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host." (Isaiah 45:12)
    • "Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together." (Isaiah 48:13)
    • That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens, And laid the foundations of the earth; That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:13)
    • It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 10:12)
    • It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)
    • The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, (Zechariah 12:1)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Watson, A. 1998. Cosmology: The Universe Shows Its Age. Science 279: 981-983.
  6. Chaboyer, B., Demarque, P., Kernan, P. & Krauss, L.M. 1998. The Age of Globular Clusters in Light of Hipparcos: Resolving the Age Problem? Astrophysical Journal 494: 96.
  7. (Kundic, Falco)
  8. (Freedman)
  9. (Schmidt)
  10. Homan, D.C. and J.F.C. Wardle. 2000. Direct distance measurements to superluminal radio sources. Astrophysical Journal 535: 575-585.
  11. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"-- and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:17-18)
  12. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20)
  13. "And he said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:14-15)
  14. And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear, and understand. (Matthew 15:10)
    And after He called the multitude to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: (Mark 7:14)
  15. Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? (Mark 8:18)
  16. And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. (Luke 7:22)
  17. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
  18. And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'" (Luke 7:20)
  19. And Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day. (Genesis 35:20)
  20. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. (Joshua 4:9)
  21. And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening; and at sunset Joshua gave command and they took his body down from the tree, and threw it at the entrance of the city gate, and raised over it a great heap of stones that stands to this day. (Joshua 8:29)
  22. But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day. (Judges 1:21)
  23. Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. (Judges 6:24)
  24. and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large stone on which they set the ark of the LORD is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite. (1 Samuel 6:18)
  25. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar which is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to preserve my name." So he named the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument to this day. (2 Samuel 18:18)
  26. They also broke down the sacred pillar of Baal and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day. (2 Kings 10:27)
  27. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (Matthew 27:8)
  28. "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. (Acts 2:29)
  29. "And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:19)
  30. The following verses suggest that God created the universe through an expanding universe - what science has called the Big Bang. In many cases the Hebrew text indicates present tense - a process still continuing.
    • Who alone stretches out the heavens, And tramples down the waves of the sea; (Job 9:8)
    • Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (Psalm 104:2)
    • It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)
    • Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk in it, (Isaiah 42:5)
    • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, And spreading out the earth all alone" (Isaiah 44:24)
    • "It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host." (Isaiah 45:12)
    • "Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together." (Isaiah 48:13)
    • That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens, And laid the foundations of the earth; That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:13)
    • It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 10:12)
    • It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom, And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens. (Jeremiah 51:15)
    • The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, (Zechariah 12:1)
  31. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. (John 14:6)

http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/appearance.html
Last updated September 2, 2013

 

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