Is the age of the Earth a “trivial” doctrinal point?

Waterfall. Photo copyrighted.

The age of the Earth, what does it matter for Bible-believing Christians? This is an issue which has many Christians confused. Some Christians feel that a "battle line has been drawn over a peripheral point… a trivial doctrinal point."[1]

Thousands of years old or billions, what does it matter? This is not a trivial point for the Christian faith. Although many Christians miss the connection at first glance, this issue is inseparably linked to the Gospel and the inerrancy of Scripture. Many Christians have thus been misled into believing that the young-Earth debate is a side issue and not relevant to everyday Christian life or the salvation message.

Butterfly. Copyrighted. Courtesy of Films for Christ. The wonderful Good News to mankind about Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, is foundationally rooted in the Book of Genesis. The origin of death is described in Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-6 (cf. Romans 5:12; I Corinthians 15:21-22). Death was the promised result of sin. It was also the means by which man would be restored to God. In contrast, old-Earth creationism (Progressive Creationism and theistic evolutionism) teaches that death and bloodshed existed long before man's existence, contrary to the very message of the Gospel.

Physical Death Came Through Sin

See: Genesis 3:19

All people die because of Adam's original sin. Old-Earth creationism denies this, saying that animals died for millions of years before Adam—and implying that Adam too was doomed to physically die, regardless of sin. Old-Earth creationists view death and struggle as a part of life that has existed since the beginning.

According to the Progressive Creationist's old-Earth timeline, Adam was, in effect, created on top of a graveyard of decaying or fossilized animals. Almost anywhere he walked, the remains of millions of dead animals were somewhere below his feet—evidence of death and frequent misery on a massive scale.

Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins. Biblically, physical death is a clear penalty of sin—first demonstrated by the death of the sacrificial animals (beginning with those killed by God to clothe Adam and Eve). This penalty was also verified by the physical deaths of Adam and later, Christ, the perfect sacrifice and atonement.

Blood Sacrifice

God's Old Testament requirement for the forgiveness of sins was the physical death of sacrificial animals: "…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22, NASV).

Leviticus 17:11 states "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life" (NIV).

Tulip. Photo copyrighted.ORIGINAL PARADISE—or did the perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful God of love create an imperfect Creation?

The Bible certainly suggests that God's Creation was fully developed, fully equipped, fully functional, free from disease and suffering. God judged it all as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). In contrast, old-Earth creationism asks us to believe that God created a world filled with frequent death, catastrophes, extinctions, physical and emotional sufferings, cruelties, and so on—for millions of years.

Coprighted. According to old-Earth creationism, when wolves eat lambs and when bears kill baby sea lions, this is exactly the way things were meant to be by God. Is this what we should be teaching our children?

If so, why has God never revealed this? And why does God refer to a blessed time in the future when the wolf will lie down with the lamb?

Genesis provides a brief but tantalizing description of the wondrous paradise our Creator lovingly designed. It was far unlike the pain-filled, sin-worn world of degeneration that we experience. There is no biblical reason to believe that the pre-Fall world suffered catastrophes, diseases, parasites, plagues, degenerative mutations, damage of skin and eyes due to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, animals preying on man or animals, etc. Earth began as a paradise, not a world of travail.

CORRUPTION AND DECAY OF PARADISE began with man's sin and God's judgment

See: Genesis 3:14-19

Restoration Of Paradise

Poppy. Photo copyrighted. There is wonderful hope for the future, an essential part of the ultimate promise of the gospel. One day the Creator is going "to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets" (Acts 3:21, NIV).

All things will be restored to the wondrous excellence that He originally created. The world will once again be a paradise.

The Purpose of Death

Why did God send physical death to the world He gave Adam to rule? Many people are frightened of death. Most non-Christians look at the suffering and death in our world and conclude that God must not really be good or loving or even all-powerful. Why would God create a world filled with suffering and death? They fail to see that God created a perfect world, a world free from death. Death is the result of sin, man's rebellion against God. However, in love Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) died in our place and was victorious over death. This is the message of the Gospel!

Animal Death

God originally created a paradise for Adam, free of death and suffering. God placed the curse of death upon the world that Adam ruled, thus animals also die. The animals became subject to suffering and death along with their master.

Christ, Totally Good and Loving? Or Sadistic?

If Christ, the Creator (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16, I Corinthians 8:6, Hebrews 1:2), used millions of years of suffering and death to make the animals, how can He be all-loving and all-good?

Under the Progressive Creation scenario, Christ designed the animals to devour each other, ripping with claws and teeth. He then further allowed these innocent creatures (with no connection whatsoever to man or sin) to die by the trillions for millions of years due to every catastrophe conceivable. God allowed (or possibly even sent) a multitude of afflictions down on these animals, including diseases of all sorts, plagues, volcanoes, earthquakes, bombardments from outer space, floods, etc. As a result, animals of many types were killed to extinction.

Thus, the Progressive Creation scenario involves a process of elimination, death by fang and claw—cold and unmerciful to the weak. Could even a sadist think of a more cruel and ugly way to produce the animals over which Adam was to rule?

What a horrible thing to accuse Jesus Christ of doing! It is shocking that Progressive Creationism defends this as the process that Jesus set up and ruled till the creation of man.

Monarch butterfly on flowers. Photo Copyrighted.Our Creator's true nature is incompatible with this plan. God is love! He sees even the sparrow fall. Animal death came because of man. He said, “Blessed are the meek”—not blessed are the strongest and most aggressive.

Trees. Photo copyrighted.CHRIST—All-powerful, All-knowing, Absolute Perfection

If Christ is all of these things, He is certainly capable of creating the world in one blinding instant. Why would such a Creator use a slow process rife with dead ends (repeated animal extinctions) and new starts? Why stretch the process over the lifetimes of millions of generations of animals—all this before ever getting to the point, the creation of man?!

The Creator doesn't need time; He doesn't need to experiment. Progressive Creationism stains God's true glory, majesty and power—the very characteristics that define him.

From the video: ‘The Genes Solution’ by Films for Christ. Copyrighted.Genesis Is Foundational

More Bible writers quoted (or referred to) Genesis than any other book. Both Jesus and Paul quoted from it.

Christianity was built upon the foundation of Genesis. Ultimately, all biblical doctrines of theology are based directly or indirectly on the book of Genesis.

If the foundation (Genesis) is damaged, the structure (Christianity) is in peril.

Sadly, Progressive Creationism is chiseling away at its own Christian foundations.

Fern frond. Copyrighted.Trust in God’s Word

If the Bible is God's Word (as it repeatedly claims), and if Progressive Creationism is true, then God's Word is deceptive. For thousands of years, a literal, straightforward, common-sense reading of Genesis and the rest of Scripture has led millions of intelligent Christians and Jews to believe that:

  1. the universe was created in six literal days

  2. the Earth is only thousands of years old

  3. animals were not originally carnivores

  4. the Earth was created before the stars

  5. the plants were created before the sun

  6. man was created in the beginning (not as the last tiny link in an enormous timeline of Earth history)

  7. the Flood was global, not merely local

Tree at sunset. Copyrighted.Health of the Church

Rejection of the literal biblical account is adversely affecting the Church. Young-Earth creationists are rightly concerned for the long-term health of the Church.


  1. Hugh Ross, Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NavPress, 1994), pp. 8,9. [UP]

Authors: Paul S. Taylor, Christian Answers and Mark Van Bebber. Adapted from Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross

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