Genesis, the Bible, and the Age of the Universe

Looking at the Earth From Space

This is the area over and around Algeria, interestingly enough.
This is the area over and around Algeria, interestingly enough. | Source

The Age of the Universe - Some Things to Consider- Especially Christians

There are a lot of people out there from many different worldviews, that assume quite a bit about the age of the universe. Many term it the age of the earth, but really they are often meaning the entire universe when they say it. To be clear as possible I am referring to it as the age of the universe.

It is hard to know where to begin exactly. The heart of what I want to talk about is that there are some very different camps, even amongst Christians in regards to the age of the Universe. I think this isn't necessary, and I myself have changed in this regard over the last several years.

Here are some basic things that people need to keep in mind regarding the age of the Universe or Earth.

1. There is no biblical account of the age of the earth or universe, not Genesis or elsewhere. People have assumed this. They assume about the days given in the beginning of Genesis and then go to genealogies. Others in turn automatically adopt this same idea, and often do so because it is often taught as "gospel." It is not, if you look very closely.

2. Not all Christians believe the earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old, like the young earth creationists. In fact, many do not.

3. Neither Jesus, any apostle, nor any prophet in the bible has even suggested that a Christian must follow some idea about the age of the earth. This seems to make sense in light of the first point made here. It isn't discussed in any of the books covering the whole bible. Believing in young earth creationism is not a requirement to be a true follower of Christ.

4. Please be gentle and patient when discussing this with people, as it is often a foreign thought, though it shouldn't be. It can be surprisingly upsetting and divisive in some groups. Again, this need not be.

5. It is better to ask questions than assume, and better to research all you can before assuming.

6. Being a believer in an older earth or universe, is not incompatible with the Christian worldview.

7. Considering the earth and universe to be older, like multiple billions of years old even, does not mean you need to throw out the book of Genesis, and far from it. It definitely touches on origins, and is in keeping with modern day science.

Some Reminders

To anyone that says you have to subscribe to a 6-10 thousand year old earth, ask them why that is? Likely, they have been taught that is what the bible teaches, but it simply isn't true. It is an assumption based on some ideas. One is not having to give up their belief in God by giving up on the idea of a 6-10 thousand year old earth or universe.

One of the reasons I got to thinking about all of this is the upcoming debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. If I am not mistaken, the debate is about creationism vs. evolution. I know of many Christians that esteem Ken Ham, and many Christians that disagree with his view of a younger earth. It seems fitting that it might be a good time to be considering these different topics and ideas, perhaps more than ever. If for no other reason than there can be some pretty serious tension between the camps, and how a whole group of people can be painted.

Perhaps, you have never considered there are so many Christians that disagree on what seems to be a foundational topic. I think it really isn't such a big deal, and will always be a proponent of freedom for all to choose to think and believe as they wish. It is part of what makes the United States great. We are in an era where there are growing numbers of people that think it is a problem to teach their kids as they see fit. Bill Nye has touched on this topic, and many have probably seen the video of him talking about it. In fact, I may post it here for all to see. I don't agree with Bill Nye in the sense that he doesn't seem to consider that many Christians do indeed believe in evolution. They believe in the small changes we do observe over time, for example.

As you see in the video, which I share below, Bill Nye starts out saying "Denial of Evolution is unique to the United States." If evolution is small changes observed over time, then who is denying that? Who is then teaching that there are no small changes over time to be observed? Do you begin to see one of the same problems I am? What I am referring to, is that some are being labeled as denying something I don't think they really are denying. The whole rest of the videos runs with this idea, and who wouldn't agree with him if he was right on the first thing he said? Really, the part of the debate that begins to get a bit intense is about origins, or Darwinism, etc.

Being more clear and precise about these particulars will help in this discussion that ought to be had. I know I welcome the ideas to be tossed around fairly. I hope all would feel the same way and be careful to not lump everyone into the same group that isn't even necessarily portrayed properly sometimes.

Thanks to those willing to think about these and other weighty matters that matter to us all. I wish the upcoming debate between Ham and Nye is one I could watch. Hopefully it will be recorded. I also wonder if Nye would be willing to debate other Christians that believe in an older earth like he does, as that would be interesting to watch as well.

My goal is truth, and discovering it, and being fair and reasonable to the facts and people everywhere. Your thoughts are welcomed below.

© Copyright 2014 by Oceansnsunsets. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 31 comments

MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

Very topical post, hope it clears some cob webs


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 2 years ago from Upstate New York

You're quite correct that the " creationism" theories vs. Darwin's evolution theory did NOT come from the Bible except in a very loose way. Most of the time the people who get really hot in one of these discussions, well, the people have closed minds on the subject anyway, so don't hassle 'em, is my theory on that!


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 2 years ago from Seattle

Creationism is something I can't get my head around (evolution either, but that's neither here nor there at the moment).

The Bible uses the term "day" to mean a period of time of unknown length when speaking of creation. Genesis 2:4 uses the word, "day" to encompass ALL of creation, so the same word cannot mean that the separate creative days were also 24 hours long. That would mean that six 24 hour days had to also fit into a single 24 hour time period. It just can't happen.

Do you remember that the Bible says that on the seventh day, God rested from his works? Well, 4000 years after God's day of rest began, the Apostle Paul, at Hebrews 4:1-11 clearly showed that it was still in progress, so it could not be a 24 hour "day." 2 Peter 3:8 indicates that time doesn't matter to God, so, to Him, it would not matter that it took billions of years to get everything just right for humankind. Dinosaurs could roam wherever they wanted until their purpose was complete (I believe they served some purpose in preparing the earth for mankind anyway--my opinion, not a Biblical statement).

Even our own vernacular uses the word, "day" to indicate a period of time with no specific start or end given: "In my day we walked ten miles to get to school; up hill, both ways, in the snow!" He didn't go to school for one day, did he? :)

People would realize that the Bible is actually quite accurate when it comes to scientific matters if they would just read it and stop listening to others who SAY they've read it but are making stuff up as they go along.

Here are some examples: Earth hung on nothing--Job 26:7. Earth is a "circle" or globe--Isaiah 40:22. The water cycle of snow/rain, rivers, seas, and evaporation sited--Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Amos 5:8.

There is also NO reason to DISbelieve the "big bang theory." It seems like a great way to start off the universe. It makes sense to create matter displacement--with a burst of energy--so as to fill the universe and have the building blocks to create the earth and everything else. After all, the Bible says that God is 'abundant in dynamic energy.'--Psalm 147:5 and Isaiah 40:26

There are more examples, but I've taken too much of your time.

Sadly, it is the attitude of many churches which is incompatible with science AND the Bible. They've got a great guidebook in their hands and they won't even open it up to see what the Bible really teaches.

I enjoyed the Hub! Good job.


Kukata Kali profile image

Kukata Kali 2 years ago

If Christians stop believing in the 6000 year theory it would force them to give up on the rapture being near, thus messing with the whole savior thing. One day as a thousand years and a thousand years to one day (2 Peter 3:8) is what is believed to be Gods time frame. I'm with you though RGNestle, if you're going to believe in something, you do kinda have to read the book. Anyway, great and interesting hub! Voted up :)

As a side note, I freaking love Bill Nye! I used one of his videos in my hub too!


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 2 years ago from Seattle

Yeah, Bill Nye rocks!

But the scripture in 2 Peter isn't saying that a literal day to God is equal to 1,000 years. It shows, by use of the word "as" (in the original Greek "ως--os--as"), that it is a metaphor. It indicates that time has no meaning to God. But He did give instructions to humans and gave them human timelines so they could (should) understand. (i.e. "a time, and times, and half a time" to the Hebrews clearly meant 1,260 days, for it is even referenced in Revelation 12:6, 14. A full explanation is long enough to be a Hub all its own.) :)

I don't believe in a world wide rapture myself. It's a concept that has been changed so drastically from its original expression that many people believe that ALL good people will go to heaven in an instant, leaving the wicked on the earth. But that would void the several parts of the Bible which say the righteous (meek) will inherit the earth and live on it forever in paradise. (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:4) If all the wicked are "left behind" as the Baptists (et al) say, then the Bible lied in these passages. So I would say the modern understanding of the rapture is the incorrect belief and that further examination is needed by many to learn what the Bible really teaches.

I love to see people who actually want to discuss the Bible and not argue over it. I've enjoyed this Hub and the comments!!!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

MG Singh, I hope it clears some cobwebs also, thanks for your comment.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Paradise7, One of the things I wonder about is why some people get really "hot" at all in these discussions, like you mentioned. I mean, I wonder if they ever considered why they get so up in arms, so to speak. What exactly is so upsetting and is it necessary? That is part of my point. I mean no harm in saying this, it is just that I don't think there is anything to lose in just giving the whole thing a good thinking over. We aren't commanded to believe in a certain age of the earth by anyone in the whole of the bible. It seems to just be another man made invention almost. No stressing about it with each other is necessary, and yet we see great division not just with Darwinian evolutionists, but with people that are often nearly like minded! Thanks for your comment.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

RG Nestle, thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it and don't consider it taking up any time. You bring up excellent points, and some that I love in particular are the ones where the bible spoke first about what science observed later on to be true. I am for truth, whatever it is. There is truth in science, and whatever is responsible for our universe will line up with the truths we observe in science and in humanity, etc. I think that whatever that thing is, has to be sufficient for the task, a sufficient cause for the effect we see. We are not without options there. Thanks again for your points and the bible references to back them up.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Kukata Kali, I am not sure I totally understood or followed your first sentence there, how it ties in with the rapture and savior thing. I totally agree that people need to read the book, and will add that we need to try and keep separate what man has added on later on, or particular interpretations without reading the whole context of the books more. Too much gets assumed, and people's focus can get off base, etc.

As for Bill Nye, I liked him a lot growing up, but he seems to have changed quite a bit in these later years. Totally respect his right to that, by the way, but want to point out when he seems to be assuming too much about a whole group of people if and when he does that. (Or anyone does that, to be fair.) So glad you stopped by and thanks for your comment!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

RG Nestle, I am with you on the idea of people discussing the bible and not arguing about it. I am so happy you enjoyed the hub and the comments so far. I am a little behind but try to get back to the comments when I can.


Cgenaea profile image

Cgenaea 2 years ago from Illinois

I think that we make too much of the age of the earth. The argument has no value. The bible gives generational information, but also mentions the hundreds of years many people lived.

God has secrets known to no man. (Biblical quote) I honestly believe the age of earth to be one of them.


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 2 years ago from Seattle

I have an interesting thought on which I have been pondering recently( not covered in the creation account).

God said of each of his FINISHED works that they were "good" so there was no reason to change them.

When he created the dinosaurs, was he dissatisfied with them or were they just a necessary step in preparing the earth for later inhabitants (i. e. humans)? If they were just an experiment (God experimenting with what he wanted to do with the earth) then we can understand why the Bible doesn't say, "And God created the dinosaurs and said that they were good." We only have the record of what he found best for mankind.

Of course, that would also explain why mankind came last. Although God could protect his people, it would probably have been too dangerous and emotionally scaring for mankind to live during the time of the dinosaurs since science says the earth was so unstable--ground and animal-wise. (And we are discovering that science and the Bible agree on, basically, everything.)

I also find it merciful of God to make sure the animals were not sentient so they would not fear death or suffer emotional harm since he possibly hadn't decided if they were to remain on the earth as part of His finished creation.

If a creation was not or was no longer needed for the benefit of mankind, there was no reason to record it in the Bible. Plus, God didn't hide his discarded creations since he allowed the natural process of fossilization to record their existence.

Like I said, just something I've been thinking about recently. It makes sense and can explain why parts of creation were not commented on in the Bible account of Genesis.

I would love to make a deeper examination of this idea, but there is nothing to examine. The idea comes from the lack of information about previous, extinct creation.

But, as we have already covered in the comments, it's not important. Just interesting.

What we who believe in the texts of the Bible need to do is to look forward to the ultimate promise of an eternal paradise on earth for the faithful. Remember, Apocalypse means "unveiling" (Lit., “uncovering; disclosure.” Gr., A·po·ka′ly·psis; Lat., A·po·ca·ly′psis.) not "total annihilation.") Revelation (Apocalypse) 14:6, 7; Matthew 5:5 King James Version.

I hope you all have a great day!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hi Cgenaea, I think you may be on to something there. I would agree in the sense that we aren't given an age in the bible, not even an estimate. The few things mentioned referring to time are kind of vague, and it could very well be that God wants that to just be something he knows for now. The rest is left up to clues from our universe. Thanks for your insightful comment. No one really mentions things like that in that way in this argument. :)


Cgenaea profile image

Cgenaea 2 years ago from Illinois

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty :)


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 2 years ago from Seattle

Yes, Cgenaea. I absolutely agree. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

Just as the duck-billed platypus confounds evolutionists , and dinosaurs confound creationists. (And people who actually read the Bible confound those that go to college to hear what others say the Bible says.) :)

If only they would pay attention to the 'more important things' and not 'argue over words.' (Philippians 1:9, 10; 2 Timothy 2:23-26.)

Have a great day, everyone!


Cgenaea profile image

Cgenaea 2 years ago from Illinois

You've hit all kinds of nails with that one.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hi Cgenaea, you know what is interesting about that verse you posted? I have thought of that exact verse many times over the last few days as I have been observing things. I couldn't remember exactly where it was though. So true. Thanks for sharing it.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

RGNestle, thanks for the reminder, you are correct. If we wanted to, we could spend countless hours wasted on certain activities. If there is anything I have learned in these latest years it is that life is precious and short even for those that live good and long lives. What we choose to do matters.


Cgenaea profile image

Cgenaea 2 years ago from Illinois

I'm so glad that you guys are "delusional" too. ;)

...they that do the will of my father.


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 2 years ago from Seattle

:) :) :) :)


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Great post. Glad you wrote it. An awakening article, i will vote it as being very informative. Thanks


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Nadine, I am glad you liked the article, and thank you for reading it. I appreciate your visit here!


Rad Man 2 years ago

" If evolution is small changes observed over time, then who is denying that? Who is then teaching that there are no small changes over time to be observed? Do you begin to see one of the same problems I am? What I am referring to, is that some are being labeled as denying something I don't think they really are denying. "

Some are in fact denying evolution just as some are denying that we live in an old universe. There only reason for this denial is the bible and their interpretation of said bible. Some claim that they have a better understanding of facts because God talks to them. If these people are wrong, who else is wrong? The bible very clearly describes what a day is and then describes what God did each day. We then have a very clearly described genealogy leading to Jesus. That's where some get the idea of that the universe is no more than 10,000 years old. The facts however very clearly demonstrate and old universe. The fact that light has been coming from other galaxies for billions of years should be your first clue.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hi Radman, I hear what you are saying, and here are my thoughts on it. I think not that long ago many more people denied evolution and really did think the world is closer to 6-10 thousand years old. With discoveries in science, and more and more people willing to look at the evidences and reading more books on the subject, they are reconsidering things. For so long, they were never really challenged to reconsider their views, and they made sense to them for the reasons you gave.

What has seemed to happen in the last several years is that more and more Christians and believers of all kinds are coming to a fair understanding of how being a theist and a Christian in particular, doesn't mean they can't believe in evolution and an older universe.

The reasons for that are vast, and those that come over to a new way of thinking have a few options now they didn't really have before. It is causing some interesting discussions within families of all kinds, including my own. I say all of this to encourage you, that Christians do not reject science and actually very often love it. Many are like me in that they think that whatever is true, WILL line up with the known world which very obviously includes science to a huge degree.

Christianity and science need not be at odds at all, and it doesn't include tossing out the word of God either. It just takes some real study and wisdom and consideration of reasons why there may be some seeming contradictions. It seems to me there really is not. So that is really cool, and makes sense of a universe in which some think was created by a real God that could "get it done."


Rad Man 2 years ago

Christianity and science need not be at odds, but for some they are. Did you watch that debate?


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Thanks for saying that Radman, and I agree. Yes, if you mean the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.


Cat333 profile image

Cat333 2 years ago

A lot of good points in here, oceansnsunsets. I admire your heart for unity. The divisions are unnecessary. The age of the earth / universe is not central and seems to be a distraction and stumbling block in our day. No matter our differing understandings of the creation account (and some of us simply acknowledge that we don't know the age of the earth), Christians can and should all unite in our common belief that God is our Creator and Lord.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Hello Cat, I agree that this issue, while a big one is not central or critical to the point that some make it. There are too many divisions that are not necessary. I am so thankful for the beauty that I see in the world. It is simply amazing. I think God did a wonderful job in it all. The gift of life given to each of us is an incredible thing. So glad you stopped by and left your comment. Thank you!


Cat333 profile image

Cat333 2 years ago

You're welcome, oceansnsunsets. I enjoy your writing. Yes, God is an awesome Creator!


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 2 years ago from The Midwest, USA Author

Cat, as for a cause that could be sufficient for the "effect" we see, I think God fits the bill better than any other alternative out there. He fits it completely actually, and could "get it done" from the point of origins and on. Nothing else does that sufficiently that I have ever seen. I appreciate your kind words, and I admire your patience with others and desire to share despite what comes with it sometimes. I think talking about truth, whatever the truth is, is so important and well thought out people can be so helpful in clarifying sometimes muddied waters.


Cat333 profile image

Cat333 2 years ago

Well said and thank you. You are very patient yourself (probably more so). It's refreshing to come across genuine truth seekers.

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