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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. A Christian who's really trying.

    Theres no prerequisite that says a true Bible believing Christian should have to believe in a literal minute-by-minute 24-hour-day, Six-day Creation of the World, in order to understand GRACE, FORGIVENESS and MERCY.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • snowboarder

      christian – true, but without a literal genesis and original sin, there is no need for a messiah and the entire premise of the christian doctrine falls like a house of cards.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Peter

      Exactly. It's not about whether your opinion is right or wrong. It's about whether you consider your opinion to be right and the Bible to be wrong.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • A Christian who's really trying.

      ORIGINAL SIN in Genesis refers to mankind's ANIMAL INCLINATION, not in the literal eating of a fruit, but in attaining and fulfilling our own KNOWLEDGE of DESIRES, in order to gain power – power to take, steal and consume what is pure before us. In our ignorance we shed blood no different than animals, because we are animals, and we can hardly contain ourselves every time.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • ReasonableEngineer

      @Christian

      You don't need the Bible at all to understand grace, forgiveness and mercy. There's good and bad people of every faith (or therefore lack of), suggesting that those qualities have nothing to do with any Biblical interpretations. That's why you don't a literal biblical creation of the world to understand those concepts, because it's unrelated.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  2. snowboarder

    once you come to the realization that the bible is not a literal and infallible docu_ment, there is no reason to take any of it seriously.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • John A

      So is snowboarders opnion. The Bible is still the number one selling book of all time, and will be here long before you and I are.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  3. tony

    my mind is made up. don't try to confuse me with the facts.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  4. palintwit

    My work here is nearly done. Thanks to me Obama has been re-elected, the teabaggers are on the run and Sarah Palin has been tossed into that dung heap known as Fox News. I have accomplished much.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Kool Aid

    Nearly half of US citizens believe we came from dust. And a good portion of them believe we must have saddled up dinosaurs at some point. This tells me a lot. In particular, it explains why most of my professional coworkers are not from America-apparently, our #1 import is intelligence.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • palintwit

      It is true that teabaggers believe that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • DinO rider

      haven't you ever seen the flintstones...heck yeah we rode them to church

      November 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Realist

      We did come from dust. Stardust. Elements that were created in the hearts of dying stars, billions of years ago, exploded out into the cosmos.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      Right you are, Realist. Allow me to rephrase: most Americans believe we were created magically in an instance by a despotic, maniacal, desert-dwelling nutcase.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  6. Ms Anne

    Ding dongs....wait, didn't science recently prove that the upper mantle was actually made from Hostess Snack cakes? Amazing! I love it when zealots try to backfill their non-sense with pseudo-science. It's sounds 'science-y'.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  7. Madtown

    Wow. Who would've ever thought Pat Robertson would be the one to try and set people straight, and keep it real?!

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  8. Emma in Baltimore

    Good for him!

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  9. BGko

    The creationists who say it was all in 6,000 years only make up a portion of all creationists, and a pretty small portion at that. Personally, I see creationism and evolution as perfectly compatible and potentially inclusive.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You are incorrect.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • TheBob

      That's because you don't actually understand evolution, and have probably never bothered studying it.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Athy

      Creationism and evolution are totally incompatible.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  10. I Am God

    Science is our future.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • K from AZ

      I'd be very careful in mocking God.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • John A

      Save your excuses for later, when your mortality runs out. A person doesn't have a chance to outsmart God when he chooses to oppose Him.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Aardman

    I fear hell just froze over.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • hoser

      great job Pat...now just don't look back...you'll turn to salt

      November 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Madtown

      Proverbially, of course.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  12. Rev. J.T.

    Who cares? What counts is how we treat our fellow humans, fellow creatures and the earth!

    November 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  13. freshtread

    I am tired of world views or philosophy being broken into two (or a small number) of discreet choices. Why does creationism require that God created the world according to the bible, or in a specific number of years. The idea that a god created the world at some point, or was the driving force in its creation, is not inconsistent with science. The incessant need to categorize ideas and draw lines in the sand disrupts the quest for the truth.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  14. Evangelical

    A good man fell victim to the world today. But it doesn't matter what the world says. We are called to be people of faith, not people of the world. The Bible exhaustively lists the generations from Jesus back to Adam. That alone tells us that the earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old. I am very sorry for Pat. Very sorry indeed. I would hate to see a man of God burning in hell because he fell victim to the world. Let us pray for his repentance.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Pat is going to hell for having common sense?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • snowboarder

      evang – thanks for the laugh.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • hoser

      you have lost another one to S-A-T-A-N
      he can sit next to falwell and roberts

      November 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      Evan...
      Hoarding cats in your trailer is not the same as having real friends. How many toes does a camel have?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • realitybites

      Dude. You've really gotta get out more. Don't let the sun burn you on the way out.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Madtown

      I don't think God would send Pat to hell, for using the brain he was given to think rationally(at long last). You should try using your brain to think rationally sometime, perhaps you can avoid hell as well.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Pat says"KOO-KOO

      I'll bet Evangelical has a couple of old daguerreotype photos of Adam riding around on some dinosaurs in the Eden 500 race. He would have won of course, since there were no other humans around. Which brings me to my next question. Who fathered Cain and Abel's wives families? Do we really trace our entire existance to some incestual beginings? Kabala, the magic 8-ball says "Looks Doubtful"

      November 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Evangelical is a great asset to us atheists. Every thing he posts makes atheism look better. Keep it up, Vangie!

      November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Realist

      Really? It is sad to realize that in this 'enlightened age' people still believe that biblical drivel – especially over scientific evidence.

      At best, biblical stories were one of man's early efforts to explain the origin of himself and the world he lived in. At worst, pure mind control. Somewhere in the middle, some historical truths, but certainly not the entire collection of stories (as heavily edited over time, to suit the editors' needs).

      November 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      Evangelical, this must stop! There is a valid interpretation of the Scriptures that the earth is not just 6,000 years old! The genealogies are not complete and were not intended to be. There are gaps and groups in them. Do you really think Pat will be burning in hell because of his understanding that there is also an Old Earth interpretation? That is ridiculous! If you're a Christian, you need to fight this nonsense! If there is anyone in need of repentance, it is YOU!

      November 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  15. zambaloola

    What kind of a sick joke is this? We in Hell are running out of winter coats.

    Everything is frozen! Even the sulfuric acid pipes! The pools of dung are as solid as rocks!
    Please donate. HEEEELP!!!!!!

    Thank you and God Bless.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  16. Aardman

    Did hell just freeze over?

    November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  17. Mr. Hand

    He looks like he's trying to squeeze out a giant fart in that photo.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  18. Terry R

    You are poisoning mankind's future if you continue to push creationism. This 46% number that keeps getting used has got to be wrong. I simply do not believe that 46% of our population can be so brainwashed.

    Also, CNN, as another commenter pointed out ... 13.8 billion years ... not 14.5 billion.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      No, your hinduism, absurdity of Evolution is destroying humanity, but science proves truth of creation, have some education in quantum physics to be a child of a human, not son of a hindu stupid god of hindu's ignorant s monkey.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Terry R

      LOL ... What?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Willy

      It IS wrong. A lot of people say they believe in creationism but don't.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • realitybites

      you really should take your meds. hindu what?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • John A

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

      December 1, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  19. wth

    I can't believe anyone in the world would be dumb enough to be a christian

    November 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Gezellig

      Well you only see it that way because you know everything.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Shakingmyhead

      Really bringing in the hate, arent you, Troll?

      November 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Surfer George

      The Faith iof another n an unknown power/force (God) greater than ourselves shouldn't be your concern.
      Suffice it to say your denial of God/Jesus.Who/whatever is also a form of faith... You believe that there is nothing to believe in.

      November 29, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • OMG

      I can't believe someone who is supposed to be intelligent can think that all of the comlex systems that are evident in "life" all just happened accidentally. No way...there is no scientific fact that explains evolution, just look at the fossil record that "scientists" so heavily rely on for all other species. It doesn't support the evolutionary theory. Talk about having faith in something not proven!!!

      November 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'No way...there is no scientific fact that explains evolution, just look at the fossil record that "scientists" so heavily rely on for all other species. It doesn't support the evolutionary theory'

      er, except it does. what do you think is wrong about it?
      and i love that you put scientists in quotes because you disagree with them, too funny.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • John A

      Hold your opinion until after you die. Time will tell who is wise and foolish.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • right4life

      And the Christians wonder why anyone would reject God's offer of salvation thru his son.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • ReasonableEngineer

      @OMG

      Not quite accidentally actually. In fact, scientific fact does explain evolution; hence why it's the entire basis of biology. There's a reason it's publicly taught, and almost all scientists take it for truth. The concept of natural selection is not only incredible, but incredibly logical. It completely explains what some people think must have been "design" in everything that exists today. Google a little on it, try to read it with an open mind, and see what you think then.

      Scientists don't have "faith" in evolution; that implies that they "believe" in evolution. They don't believe in evolution; they understand why evolution is true. That's the difference. Faith and belief are for when there is no answer as to WHY that'd be true, people just accept it as truth anyway. Knowing is when that why question is answered and thoroughly supported beyond speculation.

      November 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Ed T Duck

    Lol. His name is 'merica.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:36 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.