Truth in the Text Part IV – How Old are the Dinosaurs?

I promise I’ll write more about dinosaurs soon. For now, let’s talk about how ages are established for their bones. How do we estimate a triceratops skeleton at 68 million years old?

If you remember from Part III, Carbon-14 (C14) dating is only good for dating samples up to about 50,000 years. Dinosaurs are believed to have died out millions of years ago, so routine sampling for Carbon makes no sense to many scientists. After 50,000 -100,000 years, all the Carbon originally in the animal is gone.

These men and women aren’t trying to hide anything by not assessing the C14 levels. Based on their assumptions about the age of the earth (see Truth in the Text Part I), their research methods are sound. They will use a Parent-daughter isotope that decays much slower, allowing ages to be assessed beyond 50,000 years. The Uranium/Potassium isotope is the one of choice, assessing ages into the millions of years. Unfortunately, there isn’t any in the dinosaur bones.

Q: So how do scientists estimate when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Continue reading

Truth in the Text Part III – Just How are Rocks and Bones Dated?


How do we reconcile a 6,000 year old earth with all the data showing ancient bones, fossils and rocks at far older ages? I can’t say I ever really questioned it in years past, just assumed God created the earth in an already mature state. Adam, for example, was formed as an adult, and the trees in Eden were mature and fruit bearing. Why not rocks with inherent age? What is that to God?

Lately I’ve been looking into the research, however, and discovering some interesting perspectives. It’s good to question, to search for answers. God’s Word is truth, bottom line, but He doesn’t ask us to believe in a vacuum.

Scientific research relies on assumptions. It has to. There have to be parameters from which to begin hypothesizing. Gravity, for example. Any research on rockets has to assume gravity will continue to fight flight in a predictable and measurable manner. The developer of a new medication has to assume certain chemicals will continue to behave as they have in the past, raising blood pressure, inhibiting infections, etc. These assumptions are based on experimentation that can be observed and reproduced.

When it comes to estimating the age of something formed in the past, assumptions are essential. No one has a time machine. No one can go back and watch it actually occur. This is where the contradictions lie between scientists who believe the earth is billions of years old and those who believe it’s around 6,000 years old.  The actual testing isn’t so much a question as are the assumptions the results are based on. Continue reading

Truth in the Text Part II – How Long is a Day?

…and there was evening and there was morning – the first day. (Gen 1:5)

Thy Word is true from the beginning… (Psalms 119:60)

If you read the book of Genesis for the first time, without any bias, you would understand the word ‘day’ to mean a 24 hour time period. There is no indication from the text that the word means a long geologic age or is symbolic in any way. We saw from Part I that ‘day’ is interpreted as times spanning millions of years. Is there a foundation for this?

Let’s take a closer look at the word ‘day’.

The Hebrew (original language of the Old Testament) word for ‘day’ in Genesis Chapter 1 is yowm or yom. It is used over 1400 times in the Old Testament and has several meanings that seem to be generally accepted:

a. the period of daylight as opposed to night
b. a 24 hour time period (the most common use of yom)
c. a period of time of unspecified duration
d. a specific point in time
e. a year Continue reading

Truth in theText Part I – Is the Age of the Earth Important?

This is a great place to start this series on understanding Genesis. The age of the earth takes us to Page 1, to “the beginning.” I would guess the first chapter of the first book of the Bible is the most controversial within the church itself and has certainly provoked debate beyond the walls of Christianity. The creation text is accepted literally, outright denied and custom molded for every belief between these two extremes. Ask a handful of random people how old our planet is and you get a handful of answers. It’s the same among professing Christians and between denominations.

Does it matter that there is no consensus?  Can we agree to disagree? Is this a question that we can even answer? We’ll get to that in a minute. First, let me define the most prominent categories of thought on the matter. The terminology comes from books/articles I’ve read. You can Google these terms for more extensive information. Continue reading