Pat Robertson… wow, how many sentences on blogs have started with THAT name over the years?… anyway Pat Robertson recently made a few headlines again when he tried to explain his position on the age of the earth. I don’t want to be too harsh on him, after all, he DID admit he might get lynched for saying this. But it’s worth mentioning that the Christian world is split on the issue of the age of the earth.
Back in January, a poll by Lifeway Research found that while pastors overwhelmingly rejected evolution, they were split on the age of the earth. This isn’t new. In the early 1900’s, a dominant view with many Christians was that there was a “gap” of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and during this gap the dinosaurs existed. Although that particular view has fallen out of favor somewhat because of our understanding of how the Hebrew language works, there are plenty of Christians who believe the days in Genesis weren’t literally 24 days but more like ages of time, and others who find “gaps” in various ways that account for old earth.
Robertson has long been one of the old earth guys, along the same lines of Christian scientist Hugh Ross whose website, books, and articles have been at the forefront of the Christian old earth viewpoint. Young earth creationists, with websites such as Answers in Genesis, Institute for Creation Research, and Creation Truth Foundation are just a few of the big ones that provide the theological and scientific evidence for a young earth.
As crazy as a young earth sounds, most people tend to be shocked at the evidence for it. After all, we’ve been told our entire lives that the universe is 13.6 billion years old or more. (Depending on how old you are). 6,000-10,000 years just sounds weird to most of us. Judging by Robertson citing Carbon 14 dating which is never, EVER used in dating the earth, and Pat’s struggle to bring up any actual proof, it sounds like he believes the earth is old because…. well that’s what everyone always says right?
I’m not making fun, we really ARE influenced by our preconceived world view. It’s what makes things seem reasonable or stupid to us at the very mention of them. So if you’ve grown up believing dinosaurs lived 60 million years ago, then someone saying they lived 6,000 years ago does sound pretty ridiculous, even if you’ve never personally dated a dinosaur bone. Young Earth Creationists are likewise perceived as kooks, even though several notable scientists and academics and even some Mensa members are convinced the earth is much younger than advertised.
Typically, due in large part to this whole world view thing we all have, its easy to just assume the evidence is overwhelming that the earth is 4.6 billion years old and the universe is 13.6 billion. But is it? This type of thing is still debated publicly at universities and various forums, so obviously there are two sides the story. Speaking for myself, it wasn’t until I looked at and studied the science of it, that I became a young earth guy.
Listening to Pat, it sounds like a world view thing because he quoted no real evidence. He just mentioned a dating method that isn’t used for the earth at all, and the fact that dinosaur skeletons have been found. That’s like saying the earth is old because the sky is blue. Of course it looks blue, but why do you think it’s been around for 4.6 billion? One doesn’t follow the other. No matter if you think the earth is old or young, dinosaurs still existed.
Since the Bible doesn’t come out and give a number, Christians are generally all over the map on the age of the earth. The only thing I’d really criticize Pat Robertson for is his dismissive tone in this video toward those who believe the earth is young. They’ll lose their children he says. Or maybe their children will become accomplished scientists who believe in a young earth? Because someone should tell Pat, there are several of those people running around. Maybe Pat can let Bill Nye guest host with him?