The age of the earth remains a contentious issue in the Church. Before we can discuss it, there is a principle we need to look at: the Bible is untouchable. That means nobody, but nobody, has the right to add to or take away from it. Outside data like the old age of the earth, evolution, or even ‘lost’ gospels cannot be imposed on Scripture.
The reason is that the Bible is like a timeless map to a great treasure. All the information on the map is very important. No one is allowed to tamper with it and change the directions. At the universal Great White Throne Judgement, where the eternal destination of all people who ever lived on earth will be decided,1 the following principles will apply:
- The same data (the unchangeable Bible) was available to all people, whether they lived in 500 or 2050 AD (for those without Scripture, nature and conscience was the guide).
- If there is not one clear map that shows the Way to God’s glorious kingdom, people will have the right to complain to God. Think of it, anybody facing the very real possibility of an eternity in the lake of burning sulphur, will grasp at the smallest legal straw to escape punishment.
So we can deduct that fair judgement will only be possible in the presence of a clear, fixed, universal set of rules, or ‘constitution’ (the unchangeable Bible).
Jesus tells us, ‘I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.’ 3
Although this verse applies to the book of Revelation, we find the same principle in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 (‘..do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it…’). Proverbs 30:6 says, ‘Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.’ We can accept that the principle applies to the whole Bible.
Nobody can add outside information to the Bible that people from other times did not have (no one may change the universal, timeless directions on the treasure map). All information about God’s Kingdom must come from Scripture. If people want to argue about the age of the earth, all references must come from the Bible, the ultimate authority. To repeat, ‘outside’ information cannot be forced in, or Biblical information removed.
- Revelation 20:11-15
- Revelation 22:18-19