Question: "What is the age of the earth? How old is the earth?"
Answer: Given the fact that, according to the Bible, Adam was created on the sixth day of our planet’s existence, we can determine a Biblically-based, approximate age for the earth by looking at the chronological details of the human race. This of course assumes that the Genesis account is accurate, that the six days of creation described in Genesis were literal 24-hour periods, and that there were no ambiguous chronological gaps.
The genealogies listed in Genesis chapters five and eleven provide the age at which Adam and his descendants each begot the next generation in a successive ancestral line from Adam to Abraham. By determining where Abraham fits into history chronologically and by adding up the ages provided in Genesis chapters five and eleven, it becomes apparent that the Bible teaches the earth to be about 6,000 years old, give or take a few hundred years.
What about the popular age of about 4.6 billion years accepted by most scientists today and taught in the vast majority of our academic institutions? This age is primarily derived from two dating techniques: radiometric dating and the geologic timescale. Scientists who advocate the younger age of about 6,000 years insist that radiometric dating is flawed in that it is founded upon a series of faulty assumptions while the geologic timescale is flawed in that it employs circular reasoning [see our articles on radiometric dating and the geologic timescale]. Moreover, they point to the debunking of old-earth myths, like the popular misconception that it takes long periods of time for stratification, fossilization and the formation of diamonds, coal, oil, stalactites, stalagmites, etc, to occur. Finally, young-earth advocates present positive evidence for a young age for the earth in place of the old-earth evidences which they debunk [see our article on evidences for a young earth]. Young-earth scientists acknowledge that they are in the minority today but insist that their ranks will swell over time as more and more scientists reexamine the evidence and take a closer look at the currently accepted old-earth paradigm.
Ultimately, the age of the earth cannot be proven. Whether 6,000 years or 4.6 billion years – both viewpoints (and everything in between) rests on faith and assumptions. Those who hold to 4.6 billion years trust that methods such as radiometric dating are reliable, and that nothing has occurred in history that may have disrupted the normal decay of radio-isotopes. Those who hold to 6,000 years trust that the Bible is true, and that other factors explain the “apparent” age of the earth, such as the global flood, or God creating the universe in a state that “appears” to give it an very long age. As an example, God created Adam and Eve as fully-grown adult human beings. If a doctor were to have examined Adam and Eve on the day of their creation, the doctor would have estimated their age at 20 years (or whatever age they appeared to be) - when, in fact, Adam and Eve were less than one day old. Whatever the case, there is always good reason to trust the Word of God over the words of atheistic scientists with an evolutionary agenda.