I often receive emails asking about where in the Bible it states that the Earth is 6,000 years old. This answer results from a synthesis of a number of passages of Scripture.
Genealogies of Genesis
Our starting point would be the so-called chrono-genealogies of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. These genealogies, by their nature, do not contain any gaps. Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, of Creation Ministries International, has written a detailed article on why the grammar and sound exegesis cannot allow for gaps in these two special genealogies.1 These genealogies allow us to find the date when Abraham left Haran, in Genesis 12:4. This date must have been 2,083 AM, where AM stands for Anno Mundi, the Year of the World — that is, the years after creation.
In Genesis 12:10, we read that Abraham’s descendants were to be in Egypt for 430 years. In 1 Kings 6:1, we find that Solomon built the Temple 479 years after the Exodus. Solomon died, and the kingdom was divided 37 years later (1 Kings 11:42). And then Jerusalem was destroyed 390 years after this, according to Ezekiel 4:4-6. When these numbers are added, we find that the destruction of Jerusalem was in 3419 AM. However, we have an extra-biblical date for this event — 584 BC. When 3419 is added to 584, we find that the year of the creation was about 4003 BC.
There is a very small margin for error. Each addition could represent an error of almost a year, because we do not know if, for example, Abraham left Haran on his 75th birthday, or when he was 75 years and 11 months old. We simply know that he was aged 75. So the date of creation could be pushed back to about 4,200 BC, but not really much further. Those who assume that Young Earth Creationism implies that the Earth is 10,000 years old or younger are not using the Bible for their dating methods. The term Young Earth Creationism should really only be used for those who take the biblical position of approximately 6,000 years.
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- Sarfati, J. (2003), Biblical Chronogenealogies, < http://creation.com/biblical-chronogenealogies >, accessed 1/16/2012 ↩