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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 • Evolution

soundoff (4,408 Responses)
  1. Mohammad A Dar

    Pat Robertson is 82 years old, who says old dogs can't learn new things?

    November 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  2. Loathstheright

    "Forty-six percent" of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years...which proves that 46% of Americans are incapable of critical thought and even just average reasoning power.
    By the way...God never existed and never will.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Truth absolute is GOD, nothing can exist with constant, have some education in quantum physics please to shed your hinduism, ignorance.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      read without

      November 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  3. Johnny L

    You see it here, in the media, everywhere. Anyone who questions the holy grail of 4.5 billion years is labeled an idiot. The scientific method says that a statement like, "the world is 4.5 billion years old", is only an untested hypothesis, and a very weak one at that. There is no way to test the assertion of 4.5 billion. You can't compare it with anything else over the same over 4.5 billion years. It is all speculation, and guess-work. There are plenty of scientists who know this is true, but if they try to advance an alternative hypothesis, they are either ignored, or worse, fired, lose their grants, etc. So much for freedom and openness among the scientific community. I admire scientists for many, many things, but it is a fact that they simply cannot tell me what happened 4.5 billions years ago. They cannot really even say what happened a few hundred years ago. They are free to disagree on that, but never, ever on the 4.5 billion year figure, since it has been "proven."

    November 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • tony

      You are the one who is guessing, because you don't understand the logic and evidence by which that estimate was arrived at. Your believed difference is based on no evidence or reason whatsoever.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "Scientists" who try to advanced the laughable hypothesis that the world is 6000 years old should lose their grants and be branded on the forehead with the word "moron".

      November 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tony

      At least modern scientists aren't labeled heretics like in the dark ages. Damn that Galileo for even THINKING that the universe did NOT revolve around the Earth!!! Who does he think he is for questioning the teachings of the church?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • My goodness but you're stupid

      "You see it here, in the media, everywhere. Anyone who questions the holy grail of 4.5 billion years is labeled an idiot"

      EXACTLY!!! you are and idiot! The 4.5 billion years has such good evidence and such strong logic that even Pat Roberson (Mr. Christian himself) has been convinced. In 20 years the evangelical will all be claiming that they always believed in an old earth; that 6,000 years is an atheist lie. You've lost. t's time to give up now and focus on defending other preposterous christian claims. Or maybe you could have an epiphany and join the UFO believers.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Johnny, you aren't exactly educated in the field of science, are you? It shows.

      The number 4.5 billion didn't come out of nowhere, dear. It's based on research.

      What's YOUR number based on?

      November 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  4. tony

    Pity the "Most high Lord" seems to have completely forgotten to post the updates to his messages, by not putting any religious "signs" in the firmament as clearly promised in Genesis 1:14.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • farfallealfredo

      Have you tried looking?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  5. tony

    The crux of the problem for Robertson is that the voters rejected the Evangelical Tea Party, and he needs to re-align where the most future money will come from

    November 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Well, if a scientist of the stature of Pat Robertson finally agrees the earth is very, very old, then those observations of fossils, continental drift and rock layers must not be tests of rigidness of faith after all. Who knew?

    The catholics backtracked on limbo, now the evangelicals are backtracking on the creation myth. It would be reason to be happy if the ignorants weren't still 150 years behind the rational world.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  7. John Diomitron

    FACT – No man knows the exact age, but there is One who does...He who created it.

    Psalm 14 (NKJV) – "The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works,
    There is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good,
    No, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up My people as they eat bread, And do not call on the LORD? There they are in great fear, For God is with the generation of the righteous. You shame the counsel of the poor, But the LORD is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad."

    Who can hide from the Most High? No one can! He sees all, hears all, knows all, and nothing is hidden from Him. The darkness can not hide from the eternal Light...not even in the deepest recesses of ones feeble mind! The LORD is holy, righteous, and just...AND HE DOES NOT CHANGE!

    Soon, He will confound the intelligence of the intelligent and the wisdom of the wise when He once again shows His mighty powers and wonders before mankind! Elijah is back to restore all things!

    November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Who was keeping track of the time? Did God have a swimsuit calendar?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Andrew

      John,
      Just sticking the capitalized word "FACT" in front of your mythology doesn't make it any less mythical.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • tony

      Sucha pity the "Most high Lord" seems to have completely forgotten to post the updates to his messages, by not putting any religious "signs" in the firmament as clearly promised in Genesis 1:14.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • == o ==

      LMAO @Apple Bush

      November 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Jason B.

      And I'm sorry, but who was there recording the events? The Bible is full of tales like the creation because no one who lived at the time of the writings understood the world around them.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • == o ==

      If you have to start off with the word FACT, there's a very good chance it's (as George Carlin said) BULL SH IT.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • wyman

      What a sad sad fairy tale. To believe in such nonsense is surely a sign of weakness Religion was created by man for man to control man.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  8. lol??

    Scientists throw numbers around like the Big O spends money. Scratch 200,000 years. "ScienceDaily (Dec. 31, 2010) — It has long been believed that modern humans emerged from the continent of Africa 200,000 years ago. Now Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered evidence that H sapiens roamed the land now called Israel as early as 400,000 years ago - the earliest evidence for the existence of modern humans anywhere in the world" Copyright © 1995-2012 ScienceDaily LLC

    November 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • lol??

      So it took Hsaps 399,900 years to come up with evolution? Are they on the upswing with the brainpower or are mutations slowing em down?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Andrew

      Yeah. That dang science and its habit of revising itself on the basis of new observations, analysis, experiments and facts. What good is that to a civilization?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • lol??

      andy, "What good is that to a civilization?" Dunno, did they have world wars 157,342 years ago?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      hog wash of hindu Jew's, filthy secular s.

      November 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  9. binreal

    There is a HUGEdifference of time between Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." and verse 2 "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Some theologians who study science as well explained that verse 2 began after the big Ice Age.

    For man to place the Infinite Holy God, who is Omnipotent, Omnipresent into a 24-hour box is so severely limiting God and trying to put Him on our level of understanding! He created time!! He does not work in our timeline as we comprehend it, but His - which is eternal! I usually don't agree with Pat Roberston but he is right on this one. All of those "billions and billions of years" happened during Genesis 1:1.The Biblical story of God creating the heavens and the earth in the form that we know it begins in Genesis 1:2.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      Genesis has god creating the sun AFTER the earth, and flowering plants BEFORE sea life. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Genesis was written by uneducated nomadic sheepherders, and not inspired by the creator of the universe.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  10. ArthurP

    The argument is over. Genetics proves the Theory of Evolution is correct. Modern chicken DNA contains genes for meat eating dinosaur teeth and tails. Evolution is the only way they could have got there.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • joey

      That's not what that is. That was just a side effect when Burger King was trying to come out with an Angry Chicken sandwich – they subjected the chicken to high volumes of radio active hot sauce. Everybody knows that.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  11. CSX

    The whole question is not scientific but evil, in that if the Word of God can be discounted, then other parts can be too. Was not Adam made a man without a human father? Was not the star light there that day which takes tens of thousands of years to travel? Bottom line either God is capable or there is no hope for mankind.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "Was not Adam made a man without a human father?" No.

      "Was not the star light there that day which takes tens of thousands of years to travel?" No.

      We don't need to believe in god-myths to create a decent world. In fact, believing in god-myths is an impediment to such.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      And yet only several years ago astronomers on earth witnessed a supernova from a star that is BILLIONS of light years away, which would mean that "god" is a devious prankster who had to have planted the image of said supernova at merely thousands of light years away so it would get here just a few years ago. HA HA HA! Did your "god" also maliciously plant dinosaur fossils deep in the earth so we would one day find them and discover that the earth is billions of years old? HA HA HA! Your "god" sucks ass!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • dman

      It's not the word of god. the age of the earth is not cited in either old or new testament. some loony in the 1600s' decided some people in the bible were 8 or 900 years old, just to stretch reality to fit his preferences. You really should read the bible before you comment on it.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      dman – what is clearly cited in Genesis is an incorrect order for creation: the earth and day and night before the sun, flowering plants before sea life.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  12. == o ==

    Has Robertson or Graham come out with an official time stamp for the birth of Kolob yet?

    November 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  13. John D

    It's odd that Evangelicals have hitched their wagon to a rigidly literal interpretation of Genesis–they certainly don't need to do that.

    Obviously the book contains symbolic passages.
    For example, the snake clearly represents Satan. Why, then, do we need to read the "days" of creation as literal 24-hour days?

    November 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • tony

      Stupid is as stupid does.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • binreal

      Because they want to "explain" God!!
      Trying to FULLY comprehend Him and His ways is like explaining Einstein's Theory of Relativity to a little necked clam!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Lee S

      Wrong, the snake represents another eligion procticed at the time Genesis was written down and protraying it as evil. this was a common practice as many religions were fading and coming back then.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  14. tony

    "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".

    Nearly 100% of young US children believe in Santa Claus. Therefore Santa Claus is more likely to be the true god.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  15. Jim Weix

    "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 doesn't say much for the IQ and/or education of that forty-six percent. I can only hope that the majority of that ignorant forty-six percent are the elderly, who lacked good education as children. Like other species that could not change, they will thankfully become extinct. It is natural selection.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • farfallealfredo

      It's education that tells us that you cannot make a human out of a pig's tooth, yet scientists, the so-called "educated" did exactly that...found a tooth fragment and said "It's a man!", but in reality, it was a pig.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  16. Kevin Harris

    @Moby Schtick, No! The Hebrew word ("yom") can mean 12 hours, 24 hours, or a long period of time. Sorry, you are not educated on this my friend. I've studied intensely for years! (Yoms!)

    November 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Spirit Level

      Yum Yum Yum. Yummy reply button hey.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  17. helpy helperton

    Robertson: "I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol...this war on drugs just hasn't succeeded." And now he's finally formed realistic views about creation. I agree with him on both things...which is something I thought I would never say.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  18. chris in DC

    Does anyone here know what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about evolution?

    November 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Spirit Level

      What is the Roman Catholic Church? Isn't that just history already.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Yes. As far back as 1964, when I was in Catholic Grade School, we were taught that the Story of Creation was just that, a story. It was a way of teaching a population that was uneducated at the time it was written.
      It is sort of like trying to explain how babies are made by using the example of the Birds and the Bees.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Clyde

      catholic.com/tracts/creation-and-genesis

      November 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  19. James

    The age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years, not 14.5 billion years.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  20. Evan Vulich

    The Bible states clearly in Romans 12 that death entered the world through the sin of Adam;

    12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men (and animals), because all sinned— 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

    How did the dinosaurs die if they predated Adam since death had not entered the world yet? Pat Robertson is a fool.

    November 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Jerry

      Evan,
      Man you need to get an education. The world is so much larger than you think. It even has a curve to it... Good luck!!!
      Jerry

      November 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      No! The passage in Romans 5 says death came to MAN (humans). You cannot make a case for a young earth based on this passage (or any other for that matter)!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      LOL...I'm reading the post of someone that sounds foolish. Pat Robertson is attempting to help people like you.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • knowledge before action

      Wow, I never thought I'd be agreeing with PR, but he is applying rational thought to faith. He understands that both science and faith can exist together. Kudos to him!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Clyde

      Adding "and animals" to that verse, are you? I suppose creationists don't believe Biblical Inerrancy anymore?

      On a more interesting note, there was another fall before Adam's, namely the fall of Satan.

      November 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Clearly Abnormal

      Pat Robertson is correct. Glad to see someone get it right. Science has established that the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. The dinosaurs and what lifeforms and civilizations may have existed were mostly likely destroyed when satan led a revolt against God. God apparently decided to give earth a second go-around and then created man in his present form in the Garden of Eden. Why is it so hard for people to believe the proof that life in some form existed before the creation of Adam? Why is it so hard for others to believe that God is real and alive when so much proof of His existence is right in front of our faces?

      November 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • ShannonCT

      "Why is it so hard for others to believe that God is real and alive when so much proof of His existence is right in front of our faces?"

      We understand existence enough that we don't have to make up gods anymore to cover for our ignorance. Welcome to the 19th century!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Bruce Mc

      @Clearly, wow, that's quite a story! Can you lay out just one thing from all that evidence that is so obvious please?

      November 29, 2012 at 11:12 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.