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Pat Robertson challenges creationism
Pat Robertson: "There was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible."
November 29th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

Pat Robertson challenges creationism

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”

The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”

“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”

Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”

“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.

Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.

The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.

Ussher’s work, from the mid-1600s, is widely cited by creationists as evidence that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Answer in Genesis, the famed Christian creationist ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, cites Ussher as proof of Earth’s age. They describe the archbishop as “a brilliant scholar who had very good reasons for his conclusions concerning the date of creation.”

For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old.

The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859. By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.

The question about Earth’s age has been in the news recently. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that provoked the ire of liberal blogs and left the door open to creationism.

“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told GQ’s Micheal Hainey. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”

– CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Creationism • Evangelical • Evolution

soundoff (4,401 Responses)
  1. lol??

    An evolutionist made a comment that the human race was 200,000 years old. It's been about 100 years that the theory has been studied. Maybe the brainpower peaked 100,000 years ago and you are hopeless to stop more historically proven human atrocities from having too many mutations.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Not theory...fact. The evidence backs it up.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  2. IT'S HINDU TIME

    Peanut butter hindu time
    Peanut butter hindu time
    Peanut butter hindu
    Peanut butter hindu
    Peanut butter hindu with a hindu bat!

    November 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  3. memestryker

    Maybe he realized the Catholics didn't have much fallout from accepting the facts of evolution, so he can lead the evangelicals so parochial schools can teach reality-based science instead of theory-wannabes based on ancient folklore and ignorance. He probably saw through it all along, but like the Pope, realized that most of his flock weren't ready for the truth.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  4. yep

    how things came to be is not the issue of Christianity. whether by spontaneous creation or a process over time (and possibly large amounts), God still ordained and governed it.

    it requires an extraordinary greater amount of faith to believe that what started out as nothing, became something, and did so against chaos in a designerless-vacuum-turned-space; and then resulted in an organism such as us, capable of such great creation and being.

    rather, in a far less greater leap of faith, i believe we, and all, are created by a Designer, and by a process that may have included evolution in part, into a being capable of emulating our Creator by manufacturing, erecting, solving, and unfortunately, destroying, the things that are.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • say what

      In other words, you have no idea. And instead of working toward a real answer, you are content with whatever story makes you feel good.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • memestryker

      Since there is no evidence of a "designer," but there *is* evidence of creativity, change, advancement of forms (including thought), laws of Nature (thermodynamics, evolution, etc.) and also evidence of bonding by creatures and behaviors that lead to survival in a given environment, I'll wait until evidence becomes available for a deity to "believe" in one.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • sybaris

      @ yep

      Wow! So much effort put into a strawman.

      Got any facts?

      Didn't think so

      November 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      You have made assertions and believe in things that have absolutely no factual evidence to support them. You are either delusional, a liar or both. Unless of course you can substantiate your claims.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • ScienceTellsAll

      One does need to invoke the existence of god to explain anything. The human mind is much more powerful than god, and as our knowledge expands and our ability to explain previously inexplicable phenomena pushes back the shadows of ignorance, god's domain becomes inexorably smaller and is on the brink of vanishing. Stephen Hawking said it perfectly: "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

      November 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      No, it takes more faith to claim it was magic, it really does.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  5. idontknowandneitherdoyou

    Gotta wonder about the rational capacity of anyone following a 2000 year old book written by men whose understanding of the natural world around them is exceeded by my 6 year old.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • memestryker

      Thank you. So obvious, but often left unsaid.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  6. jason

    I would argue against the earth being 6,000 years old. It has taken much longer than that for the river to form the Grand Canyon. However, I think it might be safe to say that mankind, in his present form, came about nearly 6,000 years ago. Possibly the moment God breathed His breath (Life) into mankind.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Bring'em young

      Ho mo Sapiens in his present form have been around approx. 200,000 years, maybe more. That is to say, if you took a human from that time and gave them our knowledge, and nutrition, that they would grow to be indistinguishable from any other human. The evidence backs it up.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      6000 years is a preposterous guess. Humans had already crossed the Bering land bridge into North America 11,000 years ago.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  7. Odin VonTogan

    Does the bible explain the 7 continents? Nope. Just the Old World, and not even all of that. Does the big bang explain the universe? Nope. NASA tells us entire galaxies can collide – doesn't sound like expansion to me, sound more like criss-cross, bouncing all over, pulled here, pushed there, black-hole disintegrated here, re-emerging over there, sometimes as light matter, sometimes as dark matter, sometimes as livable matter, sometimes not. Kapish? Eternity, kapish? Eternity has no start and no finish. Eternity has no God-Creator, Big-Bang-Initiator – biut it does have a Mayan calander that says the sun is going to poop on our heads on a more and more regular basis begining on Dec.21.2012, so enjoy Christmas and thank Jesus for buying us a license to be uploaded into the Glactic Internet so we can be downloaded into new bodies on a new planet where the sun is a bit more freindly, as per the Mayan calendar for that planet. Yes, its all that simple.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  8. Dazagil

    “If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.
    Yup, that's the thing. Folks who believe their religion but don't fight science seem so much more capable of living in a world where many different beliefs thrive.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    The Universally-Formed Cosmos of Triune Manifestation

    We all live amid two chasms of cosmological orders. We have the inner-cosmos and the outer-cosmos. The inner-cosmos is atomically made and is the universal construct of the outer-cosmos. One could not have an outer without an inner. Both are synonymously of the same natures. It stands to reason the inner-cosmos was made first and the outer-cosmos came into being only after the passive finalization of the inner-cosmos was made near complete. The inner-cosmos is transcendent and fixed while the outer-cosmos is ascendant and malleable in their dualities natures.

    The third cosmos is of life itself made from the inner-cosmos decidedly living upon the terrestrial faces of the celestial outer-cosmos. This third cosmos is the celled cosmos or the cellular cosmologic orders of all life forms made anywhere cellular life can gain a foothold to evolve and gain in the abundant natures toward the evolution of its structures ever evolving. Without the two main Cosmos coming into existence; living cellular cosmologies could not exist.

    The triune or threefold nature of chasm cosmologies is being one of the greatest and grandest gestures ever to have been formulated! To say God had nothing to do with such a feat of cosmologic inter-dependencies seems an infallible congruency inconsistent for one to say or think otherwise. To say the nature of God is to keep inflating the physical elements of the outer cosmos while deflating the essence needs for the inner-cosmos leaves one to wonder about the third cosmological construct’s real nature for having been created. Why then is there cellular cosmos of living cosmologies and when did such life become established?

    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.

    November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  10. Toby Dana

    when we believe in absurdities, we commit atrocities

    November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Odin VonTogan

      Speak for yourself. I think, therefore, I am. If I believe in what you think is absurb, doesn't mean I will murder you, somebody else might, but not me. You infer human nature is a singular thing and applicable to all humans, but some people have the nature to do hideous things in the rectums of other people, but that is not my nature.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  11. John

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June."

    Are they republicans or democrats? Mitt, where are you

    November 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Toby Dana

      I hate religious people. they scare me to death

      November 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • John A

      Actually, 100% of Americans will die. Nobody has your back outside of God after that.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  12. Christina Stauffer

    I see absolutely no reason why religion and science can't get along fine together. All science has proven is that God (if you believe in him) is even bigger than the Bible writing folks thought. Yes, the big bang happened but a couple of molecules either way and our universe wouldn't exist. Why can't it be God who decided in our favor and not just random chance? Christians just need to open their minds to the possibilities. Evolution happened and it works fine if you want to give God the credit for it turning out so well for humans.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Christina,

      32% of Americans think this way. Why don't the 46%?

      November 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Athy

      Science hasn't proven anything about god, other than that he is not needed to explain nature.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Christina Stauffer

      Actually, as it happens, I'm wiccan. I believe in many gods and goddesses and in the earth. But I have a deep respect for the right of everyone to believe or not believe as they choose. Faith can be a very good thing unless it is used as a hammer to force others to one way of thinking. Science can become a religion and it mostly works for me, but there are still too many mysteries out there to rule out all other explanations.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  13. MV

    Stupid person might no longer believe stupid thing!

    Wow, exciting news in a world where his opinion matters.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Then how come hindu's, ignorants believe in hinduism, absurdity of hindu ignorant evolution by faith.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • IT'S HINDU TIME

      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu
      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu
      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu

      November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • memestryker

      Those who jump to attack other religions instead (Hinduism, for example), may want to note that all ancient religions formed in an environment where people didn't understand much about the world, and those in positions of power tried to set things up so the powerless, poor, etc. would accept their lot in life and have ways to express their need for fellowship and set up stories to support pecking orders so they wouldn't revolt.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  14. Eric

    Makes me sad to realize anyone has to argue over how OLD anything is! Sometime's numbers (or, marks).....sound familiar.....sure do make people EVIL in the end.....My hope is folks wake up to realize they've always been free to do as they wish.....with whoever they wish....(just try not to gloat about it...and make people feel bad)

    November 29, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Lordy, Lordy.

    Pat, always knew how to make a buck. Rich and famous enough now to just tell the truth, no more hustling required at the end of his days, HALLELUJAH!

    November 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  16. GardenGrl

    Thank you Pat Robertson, I WONDERED where that 6,000 year nonsense came from and am glad that a mainstream theologian has finally pointed out how silly a notion that is.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Not silly, but hinduism, fabrication.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • hindu something something

      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu
      hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu hindu

      November 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • GardenGrl

      Hindu?? Well to each their own.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @GardenGrl,

      I would hardly call Pat Robertson a "mainsteam theologian". A visible member of the religious right perhaps.

      I am delighted that he has attemped to 'break the spell' here.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Hindu Hindu Blah Blah Blah

      Hindu Hindu Hindu Hindu!

      Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah!

      Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah!

      November 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • memestryker

      It actually concerns me that anyone would consider Pat Robertson "mainstream." He has been a powerful leader of fundamentalist Christianity, but the movement where he is powerful has only existed since the 1800s in the US.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  17. Ed

    According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the 'Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5–4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. – Pope Benedict XVI

    The Catholic Church accepts scientific teaching on evolution and the age of the universe and earth and reject the teaching of intelligent design as science.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      where is the beef, just hinduism, hypothesis.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • ALS

      Great point Ed, To add to it the key scientist, Georges Lemaître, that developed the foundations of the "Big Bag Theory" was a Catholic Priest.
      The issue with most of the people posting on this blog is that they are just as ignorant as the people they are criticizing and don't have a clue what the Church actually teaches, of course to be fair most members of all of the different religions don't actually know or follow what their religion actually teaches.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  18. Sue Perlative

    The word "day" in the bible can mean an age, just as it can in english. Basil the Great, an influential early Christian writer, opined that the six days of creation spoken of in Genesis were not 24-hour days, but ages.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Athy

      Nonsense, utter nonsense.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Even giving you that, the order of creation in Genesis is still screwed up, because Genesis was written by a backward people 3000 years ago.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • John A

      People are just looking for moral loopholes in their lifestyle, and ways to make excuses not to a have a relationship with God. They just try to get creative over the years (same moral spin).

      November 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John A

      What a condescending pile of crap you posted. You are so enamored into your religion you cannot conceive of people just not accepting it as true just because people like you say it is. Get off your high horse you self-righteous, prideful tool.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • sam

      That's right, John. People just want an excuse to put something in their butts.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  19. alpg49

    Catholics have thought this way for a long time. As a Catholic, my Faith is infinitely stronger because I'm not constantly "believing" in things that don't stand up to reason.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. Saint_John

    NASA is about to announce the discovery of convincing evidence that life has existed on Mars. This will cast huge doubt on the bible and religion in general. Yeah Pat, the train is coming and there is no stopping it. Science trumps religion every time. Always has and always will. Religion is rapidly becoming obsolete and none too soon. Jesus !

    November 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • alpg49

      Life on Mars, even intelligent life outside the human race, wouldn't negate Christianity. Catholic theologians have already addressed the issue. Mankind requires salvation because we are sinful. An intelligent being, if not sinful, would fit neatly into Catholic theology.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • sam

      Don't worry, the religions will all figure out a way to insist that's covered in the texts too, like always.

      It's just that god created mankind to be sinful, but probably not whatever aliens show up. They're cool and don't need to be saved.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      Shi*t aplg49, you have already got the christian apologists on the case in order to protect the cash flow, this has been going on for 2000 years. Change your history as much as you want, Christianity as all religion is disgusting.

      November 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.