Young Earth Creationism: Relating text and evidence

June 17, 2020

Young Earth Creationism: Relating text and evidence

Tasman Walker & Ron Neller

Genesis 1–11, not just Genesis 1–3, describes the big events of earth’s history and supplies chronological/age relationships. Genesis 5 and 7:11 indicate that 1,656 years elapsed between Adam and Noah’s Flood. From Genesis 11 we can calculate the time to Abraham and understand that the earth is about 6,000 years old. We will arrive at slightly different numbers depending on which manuscripts we use and how we interpret certain verses. But these differences are tiny compared with the multibillion-year age quoted by uniformitarian geologists.[1]

Challenges to the biblical text

Lots of geological ‘data’ appear to challenge the biblical age of the earth. How are we to handle such conflicts? Because we believe the Bible is true, we do not dismiss the straightforward meaning of Genesis to allow for billions of years of earth history. Instead, we examine each geological claim to identify the reason for the discrepancy. Here are some examples:

Mudstone: For more than a hundred years, geoscientists assumed that mudstone formation requires long periods of quiet water conditions for the very fine grains of sediment to settle. However, in 2007, laboratory research demonstrated that mud can deposit from flowing water,[2] and signalled the need to reinterpret all mudstone deposits on Earth.[3]

Petrification: Do fossils and rocks take millions of years to petrify? Many examples contradict this, such as research showing that wood can turn into stone very quickly.[4]

Granite: Granite was said to take millions of years to accumulate and cool. However, research now shows that granite formation was catastrophic in its suddenness.[5]

Varves: A varve is a rock formation with thin layers of dark and light sediment. It was assumed that one varve couplet is deposited each year. Some rock formations contain hundreds of thousands of varves, supposedly ‘proving’ the earth is much older than the Bible allows. However, laboratory experiments and field observations have shown that banded rock formations form very quickly in flowing water.[6]

Coal: Again, does coal formation need millions of years? Laboratory studies with wood, clay and water show that the chemical changes can occur in weeks and months.[7]

Many other examples of geological ‘facts’ once thought to disprove the biblical age, but which have since been shown not to, have been published.[8]
Thus, on the issue of geological ‘data’ contrary to the biblical age, our approach is to question the claim and hold firm to the Bible’s time scale. Any remaining claims simply highlight areas where further research is needed. 

The fundamental problem of historical geology

This raises the question: how do geologists determine the ages of geological features? They observe in the present the physical characteristics of rocks, fossils, strata, and landscapes, together with their relationship with each other. This is called ‘relative dating’ and is a good example of empirical science.

However, we are only able to estimate an age after we make assumptions about how these features formed and how their characteristics changed in the past. Geologists have traditionally assumed uniformitarianism, a philosophy that implies vast eons of time but does not provide precise dates. It was the advent of radioactive dating that enabled apparently precise numbers to be assigned to geological events.

How dating methods work

All dating methods depend on measuring something that changes with time, such as growth rings in a tree or radioactive isotopes in a mineral. Isotopes can be measured very accurately, but isotopes are not dates. To calculate a date, we need to know the concentration of the isotopes in the sample when it formed. Plus, we must know that no isotopes were gained or lost from that time until the present. And further, we must know that the rate of change has remained constant. The problem is that it is impossible to know any of this because we cannot make scientific measurements in the past. We can only make assumptions. Consequently, every date resulting from radioactive dating is based on multiple assumptions. Recognising this, scientists interpret each calculated date to decide where it fits into their paradigm. If it does not fit expectations, geologists will generally collect additional samples of different materials and use different ‘dating’ methods until they determine a number that does fit their needs.

One notable example of how dating methods work in practice is the dating of a layer of volcanic ash in east Africa called the KBS Tuff (ash). Calculated dates were repeatedly discarded, even when multiple methods agreed. More and more samples were collected and analysed until a number was obtained that was acceptable to all.[9]

Evidence for a young earth

Most are not aware that many evidences point to the earth being young. These come from the same long-age principle of uniformitarianism but yield results that contradict long ages. That is, the principle leads to self-contradiction. A few examples:

Salt in the ocean: Detailed analysis of salt inputs and outputs to the ocean reveals it would take a maximum of 62 million years for the ocean to reach its present salt concentration. This is less than 1/50th of the assumed evolutionary age, thus pointing to a much younger earth.

Sediment on the sea floors: At current rates of land erosion the amount of sediment on the sea floors would have accumulated in just 12 million years, much less than the supposed age of much of the ocean floor.[10] This is far too short a time for long-age geologists. But it is consistent with the sediment accumulating, not at current rates, but due to rapid continental erosion during Noah’s Flood just thousands of years ago.

Dinosaur blood cells and soft tissue: Palaeontologists have discovered dinosaur fossils containing red blood cells,[11] blood vessels, proteins[12] (e.g. haemoglobin, osteocalcin, collagen, histones)[13] and DNA.[14] This conflicts with these fossils being 65+ million years old but is consistent with their being thousands of years old, as expected from burial during the biblical Flood some 4,500 years ago.[15]

Scientists working in these areas would know of these problems for the long-age view, but most of the public would not. These anomalies are rarely, if ever, reported as evidence consistent with a young earth.

How can age be determined?

The evidences for a young earth above are also based on assumptions. Consequently, we do not say that these evidences prove that the earth is young. We say these evidences are consistent with a young earth. In order to fit them into the long-age uniformitarian timeframe secondary assumptions about the past must be invoked.

So, how can we know the age of something? The answer is, by the historical method. People were present from near the beginning of creation, and time has been recorded in tightly constrained genealogical chronologies. The historical method, based as it is on observation, is the only way of obtaining objective evidence for what happened in the past, and when. That is what we have in the biblical record from Adam onwards.[16]


There are many geological claims that the world is much older than the Bible indicates. Consequently, there is a widespread effort in theological circles to find ways of reading the text to accommodate the long ages. However, those who hold the Bible as historically accurate and reliable do not try to reinterpret it to bypass its obvious reading. Rather they professionally and scientifically investigate the geological claims. When data are approached in this way, the apparent contradictions disappear. That the biblical text is accurate and reliable should frame our thinking as we seek to understand the origin and history of the world, including its geology.

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[1] C. Hardy and R. Carter, ‘The biblical minimum and maximum age of the earth’. J. Creation Vol.28(2), 2014, pp89–96, (URLs in this article accessed May 2020).

[2] J. Schieber, et al., ‘Accretion of mudstone beds from migrating floccule ripples’. Science Vol.318(5857), 2007, pp1760–1763.

[3] See:

[4] H. Akahane, et al., ‘Rapid wood silicification in hot spring water’. Sedimentary Geology Vol.169(3–4), 2004, pp219–228.

[5] J.D. Clemens, ‘Granites and granitic magmas’. Proc. Geol. Assoc. Vol.116, 2005, pp9–16, 2005.

[6] T.B. Walker, ‘Geology and the young earth’. Creation Vol.21(4), 1999, pp16–20, 1999,

[7] R. Hayatsu, et al., ‘Artificial coalification study’. Organic Geochemistry Vol.6, 1984, pp463–471.

[8] For more examples see: creating diamonds, creating opals, Oroville spillway canyon, cave age, Pacific guyots on

[9] T.B. Walker, ‘How dating methods work’. Creation Vol.30(3), 2008, pp28–29,

[10] T.B. Walker, ‘The mud is missing, so the world is young’. Creation Vol.32(3), 2010, p52,

[11] ‘Sensational dinosaur blood report!’. Creation Vol.19(4), 1997, pp42–43,

[12] C. Wieland, ‘More confirmation for dinosaur soft tissue and protein’. J. Creation Vol.23(3), 2009, pp10–11,

[13] J. Sarfati, ‘Bone building: perfect protein’. J. Creation Vol.18(1), 2004, pp11–12,

[14] J. Sarfati, ‘DNA and bone cells found in dinosaur bone’, 2012,

[15] See also: D. Batten, ‘Age of the earth: 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe’.

[16] Humans were present from Day 6 of creation. It is likely the Creator, who was present from the beginning, revealed the previous day’s events to them before the Fall.

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