Good question! But, a better question might be; Who cares?
It’s not important to anyone except you, and if you’re going to attack something in the bible, why choose something that’s not IN the bible?
The bible says the earth is only 6000 years old. Well, it doesn’t exactly say that. Well… It doesn’t even slightly say that. Technically the 6000 year number came from some guy counting up all the begats in the genealogy of the bible and making an educated guess.
The 6000 year number is extra-biblical; it’s simply not in there.
It’s worth noting that what could be decades are glossed over from verse to verse and chapter to chapter. Many books of prophets read as though God did nothing but talk to them nonstop. But a closer reading makes it clear long periods of time had elapsed between sections immediately following one another.
When we think about this, it makes perfect sense. We didn’t need to know that the day after hearing from The Lord Ezekiel had to go review a plot of land that he’d purchased because it has no relevance to the bible’s path of salvation or to the prophet’s relationship with God.
The bible is not a total and complete history of all occurrences on the Earth.
It would be WAY too big if it was. If it’s not related to man’s relationship with God or our path to salvation, it’s probably not in there.
“But what about carbon dating?”
Carbon dating is based on the assumption of uniformitariansim, which is a really big word with a really simple meaning.
Imagine I’m running a lap around a track at top speed, until the last 30 feet then pull a muscle, and start crawling slowly toward the finish.
If you arrived late and only see me crawling, you might assume crawling was how I performed majority of the lap, and extrapolate my crawling speed backward and determine it took me 1 hour to get where I was.
Functionally, this is what we’re doing by measuring the radioactive decay of Carbon 14 based on the environmental factors we know to be “normal” for the past barely 100 years.
Sure, given our understanding, this is the best bet, and scientifically, since this evidence is all we have, it’s the right bet.
But that doesn’t make it 100% right.
Also, carbon dating requires many conditions to be observed so as not to increase or decrease the decay and throw off the results. The only way to ensure the tested material didn’t suffer adverse conditions is to observe it…
For, literally, tens of thousands of years.
Which hasn’t happened yet.
“But what about Neanderthals and other proto-humans?”
I don’t know. But if you want something that’s actually biblical, God creates man in Gen 1:26, but in Gen 2:7, God breathes life into his nostrils making him “a living soul.”
Were there possibly humans or human-types that existed before the bible picks up? Again, I don’t know; but it’s interesting to wonder.
“But the Earth’s age is important!”
No. It’s not.
If you can read the story of God’s relationship with his people, and learn of a Creator who loves his creation though it hurts and hates him time and time again.
A Creator who so loved his misguided children that rather than punish them for their sins, he became flesh, so that he could suffer as a man, and die as a man, in order to pay the debts of those children who so often forgot him, derided him, hated him, and even killed him.
If you can read of the end times; of danger and suffering for the believers at the hands of the wicked, yet a promise of eternal life to those who endure the trails to the end.
If you can read all these things, and the question you come away with is: “Well, yeah, but how old is the Earth?”
Then I think you missed the point.
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