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.
46% of Americans believe in creationism! Meanwhile, the Chinese are studying math and science. Not hard to see who will lead in the 21st century. God help the USA . It will need it!!
Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.
But god can't help us, Growup. We have to do it ourselves. And religion is interfering.
I am a Christian that believes the earth is much older than 6,000 or 10,000 years. One thing that I would ask any Christian that believes that the earth is only 6,000 or 10,000 years old is to consider this. Could it be that God created the earth 4.5 billion years ago then something (Maybe God him self) caused catastrophe that nearly destroyed the earth and then God fixed it and that would be the creation story in Genesis? The reason I say this is because you would have to consider Gen 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." To say that God created the earth was "without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep." is to say that God is not perfect. I say that God created a perfect earth in Gen 1:1 then something goofed it up between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2.
And to the atheist that like to call us weak minded because we believe in someone or something that we can not see or prove I ask this.
Can you prove that he does not exist without a doubt?
Now who is the weak minded ones?
The bible is very clear how old the human race is–about 14,000 years old(oldest)
WElLL You're almost on the way to admitting that evolution is FACT, is the foundation of ALL of biology. Even the catholic church admits that.
If I understand your question correctly, according to the geologic record, no, it's not possible.
It's always amusing when people quote books of fiction.
I belief in leprechauns. Can you prove they don't exist without a doubt? Then you are week minded.
"Who ARE the weak-minded ones" would have been a less weak-minded way to finish your post. ;)
everettreb, it is not up to the rest of us to prove that your imaginary friend does not exist.
Clearly you are the weak-minded one.
I'm amazed at people who throw out ridiculous statements like "I believe in leprechauns" or "unicorns" in a poor attempt to compare that argument based on fallacy with one that asks about the origination of all things. There is no proof that supports the idea of leprechauns or unicorns or other mythical figures. But the evidence of a possible divine deity is all around.
duke–it is possible that we are in a simulation and as we speak are in fact nothing but part of a program –Hence our creator is 15 year old kid.
Duke: "But the evidence of a possible divine deity is all around."
Um – what kind of evidence are we talking about here, Duke?
Name one piece of "evidence" for a divine deity.
As a Christian I assume that you don't believe in any of the other gods, like the Hindu, Greek, or Norse ones, right? Did anyone have to "prove" to you that they didn't exist?
Just like you didn't need proof that other gods don't exist to believe that they don't, we don't need need any proof that yours doesn't exist to believe that he doesn't. We simply find the case for God being real not compelling enough to convince us.
As for your proposed possible workarounds to the Genesis story aren't you just trying to force a square peg into a round hole? If the authors of Genesis had access to this much of a story that none of them could possibly have witnessed wouldn't they know the "whole" story? Wouldn't they have a better understanding of the actual time it all took, of microscopic lifeforms, of the actual nature of planets and stars?
Name one piece of evidence!!! How else did everything in this natural world of matter that exists in such a state of order become what it is? What existed before the first natural state of matter? It had to be something supernatural.
We don't know, Duke. And we don't know if was supernatural, either. There is no evidence of that.
Nobody said "we know." But until definitive proof is provided for the origination of all things, then a supernatural reasoning should be permitted. If all natural things have a beginning and an end, then at some point in the past and the future the natural must yield to the supernatural.
How do you know it couldn't be natural, have you personally discovered everything in the natural universe yourself, oh great and almighty Duke?
Any supernatural reasoning, or do you have a particular one in mind? If you do, please provide your reasoning why your preferred supernatural cause is better than any of the thousands of other causes found in other ancient creation stories, modern sci fi, or some unimagined as yet cause?
Duke: "then a supernatural reasoning should be permitted."
Well that not evidence. You could call it a possibility and argue that it's a high possibility (although I think you'd have a hard time doing that).
Duke: "If all natural things have a beginning and an end, then at some point in the past and the future the natural must yield to the supernatural."
Well that's yet another part of what we don't know. We can only view and try to interpret our current state, but there is too much out of site in both time and space to know that the laws we can observe here and now would apply to unknown places and times. Therefore we don't know enough about all possible attributes to say for sure how we wound up like this.
typo correction: that's not evidence
sorry – another typo: out of sight
What existed before you? Your parents. What was before them? Their parents. What was before the grass in your yard? Grass seeds from somewhere else. What was before this world? Perhaps some conglomerate of matter centralized in the universe. What was before that?.......At some point the natural must yield to the supernatural. Everything in the natural has a beginning and an end. But the that cannot be indefinite. Because in the natural everything is temporal. Yet, in the supernatural all things are for eternity.
Once again, I'm not telling anybody what to believe. I am saying there is a rational reasoning for believing in the possibility of something supernatural to explain what the natural cannot explain.
But we don't know the attributes of what was before things that we perceive as natural here, Duke. We don't know if the laws that were before the big bang were the same kind of universal laws. Therefore, there are as many possibilities for us as we can think of.
@Duke, There are many creation stories that pre-date the christian/jewish version of creation. One of the oldest deities is a great rainbow snake who gave birth to the world. There's even evidence of this snake in the form of aboriginal art. Can you prove this is not the true story of creation?
One such possibility is that the agent responsible for kick-starting life is something that fled the scene just after the big bang and when to work on another universe. Crazy idea, but when we are faced with lack of knowledge, the sky's the limit as they say.
Exactly! You don't know what attributes existed. Yet science has said the universe is 14 billion years old and the earth is 4.5 billion. But you just said somethings may be unknown. What if the method science uses is flawed due to those same unknown factors. You see...whether you believe in religion, science, or a combination thereof it requires faith. Since those unknown attributes have no natural explanation, I and others choose to adhere to a belief that some supernatural factor is plausible.
One problem "Godfree" even your historical records would dispute the existence of the aborigines you speak of predating the Jewish ancestors.
And, no there is no "proof" of what religion is correct. There are many religions with many beliefs in the supernatural forces that moved the genesis of all things. It is faith that differentiates.
But Duke, we learn more and more through science – I should say our understanding improves as we apply science and learn from previous findings. What we know from religion is old and static, but more importantly it is untrustworthy. Religion as a possible means to explain origins of mankind, so far, for me, is an extremely remote possibility. Why? None of them that I have seen so far have presented a good case. Christianity in particular is very obviously a rework of fable. None of the magic in the bible has been credibly been proven. The rework of fable is the dead give-away. Putting faith in unproven stories based on rehashed folklore is just not an option for me. It is quite obvious that man created the god of Abraham based on other gods that man also created in man's image. So I like to consider lots of possibilities, but that god of Abraham one is not remotely plausible for me.
No we learn more by seeking. I never said to stop seeking. But you and others have chosen to shut out one area of truth that is always worth examining–the spirit of all living things.
"One problem "Godfree" even your historical records would dispute the existence of the aborigines you speak of predating the Jewish ancestors."
Boy did you step in science-y doo-doo on that one. The rainbow serpent art has been radiocarbon dated to show that many are older than 20k years old. As Jewish history begins with Abraham that would be around 1800BCE. I'm not a mathematician, but I think 20k > 5k.
See, if you live in the world of evidence, you don't need to rely on personal feelings and conjecture.
Godfrey you need to do more research. The oldest written history does not date back 20k years. While some drawings have been claimed to exists, the actual interpretation of those works are unknown because they supposedly predate any recorded language. Try again.
Furthermore, the Jewish history tells of a connection between God and man that predates Abraham by at least 2k years.
Any Judaism experts want to step in on that one? My understanding is the Judaism began with Abraham. That being the point since he was the first chosen and given the lands.
@Duke, A) you assume that art was not a form of written language. B) You really should educate yourself more on aboriginal mythology. The rainbow serpent is a common motif that continues throughout the generations to modern times. C) Your original statement claimed "historical records" differed from what I'm saying. Again you assume that the only historical records are ones written in a formal language. There are maybe forms of historical records include ice core samples, the geologic record, fossils and yes... art.
"maybe" should read "many" in the last sentence.
'then a supernatural reasoning should be permitted'
er, why? why must an 'it was magic' reason be permitted? thats a bizarre argument.
spit on my face, I am ashamed to be Daristani muslim
The planet is in fact about 4.5 billion years old. With that said, if you don't believe that the planet is 6,000 or 14,000 years old like robertson said –Than you can't take the bible literal –Not saying you can't believe christ is God or that he didn't create the universe
spit on my face BOB, I can't change, once a Muslim always a Muslim, and I am ashamed to be Muslim, spit on my face Bob.
But why would you believe in such blatant nonsense?
Keep up that false hope, Bobo. It's doing you a lot of good.
Didn't Pat Robertsone say that the people in Dover Pa shouldn't pray to God b/c they were against intelligent design?
pat robertson is a politician and not a pastor,priest or rev like he claims to be
I remember Robertson back when he was a faith healer like Peter Popoff. His act hasn't improved any.
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours Richard Dawkins
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.
A lighthouse is better than a church house (or house of god)??? ( Also Ben Franklin)
Then again, he also said, "Beer is proof that God loves us" He was a character!!!!
"Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." –Ben Franklin
People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
And because there isn't any evidence, extraordinary or otherwise, to support the claim there is a God dismissing that claim is not only easy, but completely rational and reasonable.
You keep believing, I'll keep evolving.
Until a small thing called death comes up. Too late, you had your chance while living on Earth. You now take full responsibility for your life (no excuses then).
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe.
Therein lies the problem. It will obviously take time to correct It.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish
Give a hindu atheist, ignorant self centered a brain and he will not know whatt to do with it.
Don't pray in my school, and I won't think in your church.
Between this story and all the flak poor misguided Angus is getting on Two and a Half Men, it's obvious that we are at the beginning of the beginning of the end for the horrible and harmful influence religion is having on our government, our society, and most importantly our children. I've always said that forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE. Now at least ole' Pat understands that, (And he's right, you will "LOSE your children," as he put it. Children will run from child abuse. All you bible thumpers just take it easy. Abandoning a belief in "god" and becoming an atheist was the most "spiritually" fulfilling part of my life. You will be MUCH HAPPIER WITHOUT GOD, You will appreciate life much more when you quit believing in life after death.
He's just coming out with this now to signal that it would be ok with the religious right for Republicans like Marco Rubio to give ground on this issue.
Please refer to Earth's Earliest Ages by G. H. Pember and The Mystery of Creation by Watchman Nee.
First published in the late 1800's, Earth's Earliest Ages helps the reader to understand the meaning of the first few verses in the Bible with comparison to other passages in the Bible (the Bible interprets the Bible). Mr. Nee, a well known Christian teacher in the twentieth century, confirms what Mr. Pember brought to light in the previous century. An unspecified period of time lapsed between the creation of the earth and its restoration after an apparent global catastrophe. The earth clearly has existed a very long time. Human-like populations roamed earth before the man (denoting humanity) of today was created. Much controversy is dispelled regarding the age of the earth and the age of the man that God created to fulfill His purpose in both books. The controversy is a red herring to keep people distracted from the simple task of seeking to know, contact, and pursue God and the things concerning Him and us as revealed in the Bible. Read the aforementioned books for yourself. Don't take my word for it. They do not replace the Bible. They help to unlock what has been hidden in the Bible for centuries.
And they're over 200 years old.
So they were apologizing way back then too?
Such crap. There is no archaeological evidence of a human population before this one.
There is nothing "hidden" in the Bible. No scholar asserts this nonsense.
The Bible: The only book that makes more sense as you delete more of it's chapters.
Its, not it's.
Its and it's can give you fits.
Having a fit about it's and its make you a ditz.
Finally, they'll delete them all and it will make perfect sense!
I think you missed the point.
Well, it's a start to rejecting creationism. When he admits that humans share a huge percentage of our DNA with chimps, and most races also have DNA from Neanderthal, then he will be confirming the FACT of evolution Denying it is like denying gravity. This is good. Maybe our students won't be behind so many other countries because of religious brainwashing. Religion is an enemy to our county's well being. Religion is the OPPOSITE of patriotism.
Well said, Nieto.
Check out the 6000 yer old Leprechauns, they could be god, couldn't they????
"Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years"!!!!!! This nation is doomed.
It's pretty sad.
The headline is misleading. Robertson isn't challenging Creationism. I believe in Creation and so does he. He is simply stating the fact that the Bible doesn't say how old the earth is. We know from the Bible how old Adam and Eve are. Adam and Eve were told to replenish the earth. They could not replenish the earth if the earth had just been created.
Funny, Christians converted people from Norse mythology using the same basic argument. The christians took the position that the Norse mythology predated Adam and Eve in a way to "soften" their transition. There really is nothing original to christianty, it has a history of assimulating other beliefs into its mythology and is one of the big reason it has been able to expand.
The Bible, however, does say how long it took to create the world, the universe and all life. No interpretative slight of hand can make it anything longer than six literal days. If these were not literal days then the establishment of the Sabbath wouldn't make sense. There really wouldn't be a need to remind people to take a some time off after working for millions, or even billions of years, right? ;-)
No, it doesn't say that either; it simply says, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." On the "first day", God created light. The heaven and earth were here before the first day.
Biblical Chrisitianity is original. The Catholic Church has done a great job of taking things from other beliefs to gain power and influence. The Catholic Church and Biblical Chrisitianity are completely different.
Matthew, then why does it say he created the celestial lights on another day ?
You're full if sh1t, and you know it.
What are beliefs does Christianity assimulate too Cheesemaker?
Matthew is correct. The Bible does say "replenish." And, the Bible does say six days. However, what were the days. The Sun, Moon and stars weren't created until the 4th day. So how did the first 3 days occur?
You can't begin to understand a faith based idea, without "faith." The Bible says that God can call the things that are not as though they were. Whatever God said it is...it is.
The problem is not whether science contradicts the bible or not, even if it is successfully argued that science and the creation story in the bible are congruent (and I don't think they are) it does not follow therefore that the bible is true and the god of the bible is therefore real.
As an example the idea of the golden rule (love your neighbor as yourself) had existed in similar form in most societies prior to Jesus.
Also the belief in a messiah, virgin birth, resurrection from the dead. Details were tweaked but the main concepts were already in existence.
"You can't begin to understand a faith based idea, without "faith." The Bible says that God can call the things that are not as though they were. Whatever God said it is...it is."
That is circular reasoning, what i like to call "cult logic".
Jesus never said the golden rule was new concept. Nor did any writer in the Bible. He said it was the second greatest commandment of God. That doesn't prove any of your points. And there is nothing "circular" about what I said. I said it takes "faith" and the faith in God, who says that all things are possible through God. It's a question of faith.
First name something that is completely original to christianity?
Second, anything that you believe as being true based on the concept that to believe it your must have "faith" is by definition circular reasoning. You are accepting the unfounded premise to prove the conclusion.
Cheesemaker you are the one making the accusations. You tell me what isn't an original aspect of Christianity?
Quite honestly the only concept I can think of is the idea that the salvation is open to everyone as long as they believe in it. And I think that says more about the early christians wanting it to amplify the belief system and nothing as to whither it is true or not.
Wow! I can name at least a half a dozen that most people of any scholarly background might throw out to claim that Christianity borrowed ideas from other religions. I can dispute all of them, but I'm surprised someone of your superior intellect cannot. Too bad.
Actually I was throwing that out there as the only concept that IS original to christianity, other than that it is all borrowed....and I am not even sure of that one.
And since you did not address my point on your circular reasoning in 2 consecutive posts I will take it you admit the fallacy.
Really? So you can't provide one example of how Christianity has borrowed from another religion and that means you made your point? Not sure what school of philosophy you attended but that makes no sense.
Read through the thread again, I did, the concept of a messiah, virgin birth, resurrection. I then said it is all borrowed except for maybe all inclusive salvation. I don't know what more you want. You haven't refuted anything I have said.
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.