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Discovery Magazine 2/1/2002

Adam, Abraham, and the Age of the Earth

Have you ever heard people talk about a “family” Bible? A family Bible is a Bible that has been passed down from generation to generation. Many times people are able to find out information about their great-great-great grandparents by looking in the front of the Bible where family members, marriages, deaths, and births are recorded. This information is helpful, not only in determining who their ancestors were, but also in showing how long ago they lived.

Similar to these “family trees,” the Bible contains lists of people (known as genealogies) who lived upon the Earth long ago. Because Jesus is the main focus of the Bible, most of the genealogies (in one way or another) revolve around Him. In fact, the Bible contains genealogies that extend from Jesus all the way back to Adam. These lists are found in such places as Genesis chapters 5 and 11, Matthew 1, and Luke 3. The genealogy of Jesus is important because it shows that Jesus is Who He claimed to be (and Who the prophets foretold He would be)—a descendent of both Abraham and King David.

So what does all of this have to do with geology and the age of the Earth? Similar to figuring out how long ago your great-great-great grandfather lived by looking into a family Bible, it also is possible to read all of the Bible genealogies and figure out that the first man, Adam, lived on the Earth only a few thousand years ago. The reason we can associate Adam with the age of the Earth is because the Earth is only five days older than Adam (Genesis 1). Also, Jesus said that “from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.” The lengthy Bible genealogies that extend from Jesus Adam reveal that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, not millions or billions of years old like some would have us believe.

While the Bible genealogies do not tell us the exact age of the Earth, it is crystal clear that the Earth is only about 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Both world history and the Bible reveal that from the present time back to the time of Jesus was about 2,000 years, and from Jesus back to Abraham was at the most 2,000 years. From the genealogies listed in the Bible we learn that from Abraham back to Adam was roughly 2,000 years. Added together, these three numbers equal about 6,000 years. It may be that a few hundred years (or even perhaps a couple of thousand years) could be added within the genealogies, but it is impossible for millions of years to fit in them.

Just as you can know that your great-great-great…grandpa did not live 10 million years ago, we can know for sure by consulting the Bible genealogies that the Earth is not millions or billions of years old.

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