Age of the Earth According to the Bible: An Introduction


Lord’s Library contributor Vickie Melograno offers a brief on the age of the Earth according to the Bible and several related resources to consider.

“What’s your age?” Asking that of anyone over 40 could get you in trouble. But what about asking that question about the Earth? Among Christians, doing so could be just as contentious.

Two camps exist on this issue within the Christian community: Young Earth creationists (YEC) who believe that Earth is 6,000 – 10,000 years old and Old Earth creationists (OEC) who believe Earth is millions or even billions of years old.

The age of the Earth is mainly an inter-Christian debate, although the topic often incidentally arises in apologetics discussions between Christians and atheists. The debate arose with the nineteenth-century publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species, which called into question the Biblical account of creation, including the age of the Earth.

The Gospel

Age of the Earth According to the Bible

Age of the Earth According to the Bible: The Young Earth Creationist Position

YECs believe the creation narrative in Genesis 1 is literal. In that account, God creates the Earth and humankind in six days. The most well-known defender of the YEC view is Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis.

Critics sometimes perceive YECs as anti-science (even though scientists are among their ranks). This may be because YECs challenge some of the means by which OECs defend their viewpoint, including the accuracy of radiometric dating, the fossil record, and macroevolution.

Age of the Earth According to the Bible: The Old Earth Creationist Position

OECs believe that the Genesis 1 account is not meant to be taken literally, but rather, literalistically. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, the founder of Reasons to Believe, is the most renowned proponent of the OEC position. Ross and other OECs believe that the Genesis 1 account can be reconciled with scientific findings about the age of the Earth.

OEC arguments to support the old-Earth position vary. One argument is that the Classical Hebrew word “day” in Genesis doesn’t always translate into one, 24-hour day–even when followed by “morning and evening” as it is in the Genesis account. With this in mind, they argue that God didn’t need six days to create everything but could have instantly willed it into creation (which supports their belief in the Big Bang).

Another OEC argument is that parts of the Genesis account are metaphorical. They may believe in a literal Adam and Eve and still think that God used evolution as His creative method.

Age of the Earth According to the Bible: Resources to Consider

It seems fitting to start our resource list with two organizations’ websites that were founded by the most prominent figures on each side of the issue: Ken Ham and Hugh Ross. Lord’s Library has compiled several resources for those who want to learn more about this topic:

Answers in Genesis 

AiG is a website and  “an apologetics…ministry…focus[ed], particularly on providing answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis.” AiG founder, Ken Ham, came into the public eye in 2014 when he debated Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) on creation versus evolution.

The AiG ministry is behind two popular attractions, both in Kentucky: The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, a full-sized facsimile of Noah’s Ark built to the specifications given in the Bible (Editor’s note: Lord’s Library has been to both and highly recommends). The Answers section of the website is a logical starting point for newcomers.

 View Resource

Reasons to Believe

Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross founded RTB and was formerly its CEO. RTB’s “about us” section indicates the organization’s “purpose” is to “open people to the gospel by revealing God in science.” The site affirms that the Bible is the “supreme and final authority on all matters” and “is 100 percent without error.”

Ross and others at RTB do not believe their view on the age of the earth contradicts the Genesis 1 account. The site has all the resources anyone needs to become familiar with the old Earth interpretation of Genesis.

View Resources

Answers Research Journal

Those who want to take a deeper dive into the YEC position might enjoy reading some articles from this journal. This scholarly resource from Answers in Genesis describes itself as a “professional, peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework.”

View Resource

Does Biblical Inerrancy Imply Young Earth Creation? by William Lane Craig

If you’re short on time but want to know more about the OEC position, consider this resource by renowned Christian apologist William Lane Craig. Craig considers Genesis 1 – 11 to be “mytho-history,” i.e., he believes Adam and Eve were real people but that some of Genesis 1 – 11 should be read metaphorically rather than literally—including the Earth’s age. Other resources in which Craig addresses this question include question #605 on Craig’s Reasonable Faith website and his post-debate answer to an audience member’s question about the age of the universe.

View Resource

Do we live on a young or an old Earth? Debate

Unbelievable debate between Ken Ham vs Jeff Zweerink – Unbelievable, hosted by Justin Brierly, does a great job of bringing together opposing sides on many apologetics issues. This episode is no exception. Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, defends the young-Earth position while Astrophysicist Zweerink from Reasons to Believe defends the old-Earth view.

View Resource

What No One Ever Told You about the Age of the Earth from Cross Examined

This short video is hosted by renowned Cross Examined founder and Christian apologist Frank Turek. His guests are William Lane Craig and Dr. Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge-educated former geophysicist who currently directs Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

View Resource

Our salvation doesn’t depend on being right about the Earth’s age. But contemplating the topic may help us appreciate, even more, the miracle of creation.

Lord's Library participates in affiliate programs. We may make a small commission from products purchased through this resource.
Vickie Melograno
Vickie Melograno

Vickie Melograno

Vickie is a writer, college English professor, and most important, a Christian with an interest in Christian apologetics. She believes in the power of the Word and God's promise of restoration outlined in Joel 2:25: “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."

scroll to top