Many Christians believe that the age of the earth was determined scientifically with radiometric dating. Thus it is scientific fact and should not be disputed. They think Christians who deny that the earth is 4.5 billion years old are the laughing stock of intellectuals. Some even reason that Jesus lived in primitive times and was not aware of modern science that tells us the world is very old.1
What does modern science have to say about the age of the earth?
Scientists like Henry Becquerel, Wilhelm Roentgen and Marie Curie investigated radioactivity and its decay process. One of the well known examples is the unstable radioactive element uranium-238 (parent) that spontaneously decays eventually into lead-206 (daughter). Radiometric decay is a proven scientific fact that nobody can deny. 2
Radiometric decay and radiometric dating are not the same thing.
Problems come when the scientific fact of radiometric decay is confused with radiometric dating:
- It is scientific to determine how much the parent element decayed into the daughter element over a specific period of time (usually measured in half lives). But it has nothing to do with the age of the rock.
- The age of rocks cannot be deducted solely from the decay of isotopes. One has to know how much of the parent and daughter elements were present in the rocks initially, and if any parent or daughter isotopes were added or removed by any other process?
- That can never be done, since nobody knows what the initial conditions were. Thus ‘age science’ has to be augmented by assumptions. It is assumed there were only parent and no daughter isotopes in the beginning. This assumption (plus some others), means that the age of the earth will always be in the millions. 3 But, and this is the big but, it is not science, but science plus unproven assumptions.
Here are two examples of the accuracy of radiometric dating.
- About 35 years ago in 1980, Mount St. Helen’s erupted. The lava from the dome was tested by radiometric dating. It gave ages of 340,000 to 2,8 million years. 4
- Basalts from Hualalei which erupted in 1801 (about 214 years ago) were tested by radiometric dating. It gave ages of 160 million to 3 billion years. 5
Secular geologists dispute it and claim that their method of age determination is solid and foolproof. The two examples (out of many) prove it is not.
- Radiometric decay is not radiometric dating.
- There was a person present when the earth was formed. His name is Jesus. He does not endorse an old earth. We will be wise to believe Him. He knows the truth.
- C Wieland, Jesus on the Age of the Earth, Creation 34(2):51-54, April 2012.
- J Morris, The Young Earth, Master Books, 1994, 2007, p 48-59.
- Ibid, p 50-54.
- SA Austin, Excess Argon within mineral concentrates from the new dacite lava dome at Mount St. Helens volcano, Journal of Creation 10(3):335-343, 1996.
- R Milton, Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, Park Street Press, 1992, p 47.
We live in a time when people increasingly ask if the God of the Bible is real? Why does He not give us one conclusive indication that He is alive? Well, maybe He did give us a clue that He is an intelligent Creative Being, but science does its best to disprove that specific sign.
God’s sign that He is alive and well lies in the DNA of living organisms. The origin of the genetic information (a recipe) is closely tied to the origin of life. Without the DNA recipe there can be no living organism. DNA is a code that needs intelligence to write it. So all science has to do is to disprove that the information on the DNA was created supernaturally. Then it has proven that the Creator God of the Bible does not exist. Until then, He seems to be the only cause of all of nature we see around us. That means He is real.
Let us take a concrete example, to explain it.
- The illustration of the Egyptian hieroglyphs obviously conveys a message. Can science prove that the message was not written by an intelligent person (supernatural creation), but the marks were made by a natural process (natural evolution)? Then there logically was not an intelligent hieroglyph writer.
- Let us say it is one of the subdivisions of modern science to prove the natural origin of such a hieroglyph. When we ask how much progress has been made, we are told, MUCH. There are many hypotheses on how the marks were made without the interference of an intelligent person. The stone could have lain in a river or pond and water carved the patterns on it. It could have slid from a rock, so the scratches were made. Some parts of the rock could have eroded and formed the specific ‘letters.’ Or whatever.
- We are assured that the researchers are making progress. The final solution is in sight. We live in the exciting times of modern science. The solution to the riddle of the hieroglyphs will soon be cracked (maybe not immediately, but in the next 5, 50 or 500 years).
This example reminds us of the donkey and the carrot. The donkey keeps running after the carrot, but it remains elusive. In the same way an easy solution to the problem of the hieroglyphs is promised. So people believe it, while time goes by and the answer remains a riddle. People die and they are not prepared to meet the supernatural intelligent God who wrote the recipe for the DNA code in living organisms. They don’t realise that history has proven that a written message always has an intelligent source. There are no exceptions to the rule.
This applies to God as the intelligent Creator of the DNA code. When it comes to plants and organisms, we are talking about millions of different ‘hieroglyph’ messages and they are long and complex.
People are eager to get rid of the Creator God and to disprove the Bible. Science is supposed to help with it. Unfortunately, there is no progress, only promises. Such is the cleverness of the devil who keeps people waiting for the final solution, the final death thrust of God by naturalism. It will never happen, since it can never happen that non intelligence can write a hieroglyph or a DNA code.