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
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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. gladiatorgrl

    the GOP is turning on itself in the House
    the Right Wing is turning on itself in the pulpit

    MAN it's a GOOD DAY 2DAY!!!! Hopefully they'll both go the way of the Dinosaurs

    November 30, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  2. Mark

    This is the most sensible thing I have heard out of the evangelicals for a long time. I am glad to see someone in a leadership position come to the table and say that it makes sense we don't know everything and not everything known is in the Bible. I think if we continue down this route we may come to a better sense of reality for the country as a whole.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • lol??

      Leadership position? Do you understand usurpation?........."Mat 23:8-9 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."

      November 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  3. John

    Robertson isn't attacking creationism. Creationism is the belief that God is responsible for the existence of the universe. Robertson is disagreeing with a fundamentalist position known as young-earth creationism.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • mama k

      God? Which God? Clarify yourself.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • snowboarder

      john – he is stating that the bible is not literally true. that is a profound statement from an evangelical.

      if the bible is not literally true, we do people take any of it seriously?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • John

      The belief assumes a single god, and then declares that God to be the creator. However, one could generalize to many Gods.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      In fact, depending upon which version (why is there more than one version of the alleged word of some god?) of The Babble you look at, the ten commandments says there are other gods and that the god of The Babble just wants to be number uno.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  4. Rico53

    I believe in both creation of Man , evolution for all other life on earth, when GOD created our universe he placed the laws of physics in place to keep everything running as it were , scientists have shown us that there are laws in physics that are universal, he also placed laws of nature in place that science has again shown us how they work , we all have the intelligence to see the physical evidence placed before us. so why can we not find the missing link the solid undeniable proof of mans evolution, because we were created not evolved, first flesh man was probably created about 14,000 years ago. all the races of men were created on the 6th day ,God rested on the seventh and then created Adam on the 8th day,the genealogy of Adam to Noah , is 1652 years to the day Noah entered the arc.Also it didn`t take God 7days to create the it was actually 7,00 years ,here is the proof of that , 2Peter 3: 8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. So you see here it was 7,000 years not 7 days.
    Having this new info from 2Peter is like a key that has unlocked a secret in the bible, there are many keys like this in the bible. A key in the new testament that reveals new knowledge in the Old testament .This is why many people get confused reading the bible ,it requires a deep study to learn these, the bible is not light reading.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • mama k

      And you found this information where? In Unlocking the Mathematical Mysteries of Gullible's Travels?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • God

      Centuries ago, God came down, went to the Germans and said, "I have Commandments that will help you live better lives."
      The Germans ask, "What are Commandments?"
      And the Lord says, "Rules for living."
      "Can you give us an example?"
      God says, "Thou shalt not kill."
      "Not kill? We're not interested."
      So God went to the Italians and said, "I have Commandments..."
      The Italians wanted an example and the Lord said, "Thou shalt not steal."
      "Not steal? We're not interested."
      Next the Lord went to the French saying, "I have Commandments..."
      The French wanted an example and the Lord said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife."
      And the French were not interested.
      God then went to the Jews and said, "I have Commandments..."
      "Commandments," said the Jews, "How much are they?"
      "They're free."
      "We'll take 10."

      November 30, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      "so why can we not find the missing link the solid undeniable proof of mans evolution, because we were created not evolved, first flesh man was probably created about 14,000 years ago."

      First off – post the scientific definition of missing link. And include the scientific website you get it from. Second – post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research that states there are no "missing links" in hominid evolution. Finally, actual scientific evidence shows that modern humans have been around for about 200,000 years. Post your scientific evidence that refutes this.

      We'll be waiting.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Pete

      We can't find the missing link because every time they find a fossil it creates two new missing links for morons like you to complain about people not being able to find.

      November 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  5. DaTruth

    Wow.... concurrently, 46% of americans are also legally re tarded...

    November 30, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • lol??

      Not to worry. Social Security will save em. Promise.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • snowboarder

      da – not really, they have just never had a reason to critically look at their religious beliefs.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • John A

      Actually, 100% of Americans will die and be accountable to God.

      December 1, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  6. pillsville piper

    in regard to the four corners of the earth, if you read in the new testament you will find that paul was taken up, to a 3rd heaven, and he saw the circle of the earth.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  7. Nietodarwin

    Mr White, I find that statement a bit illogical. If we were to do that, it would leave absolutely ZERO quotes from anything on the religious, creationist, biblical side of the discussion. This WOULD be more logical, but much less stimulating and fun. Plus, it would leave all those people completely OUT IN THE COLD. It would be like me trying to have an argument in Chinese, of which I don't speak a word.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  8. pillsville piper

    when god created man on the sixth day (male and female alike) he said, "be frutful and multiply, and replenish the earth. the word replenish is interesting. why would it need replenishing if nothing had existed before.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Lambert62

      Very good question and point well made.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  9. Orygun Duck

    Heard once that the Hebrew word used for 'day' in Genesis could also mean a broader period of time or an 'epoch.' People did not have our clocks and calendars then. Difficulty in making these translations. People forget that the Bible was not written in English.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Wait! You mean to say it did not come out full blown in English in 1610? You mean Jesus didn't speak English? You, sir, would be drummed out of the Southern Baptist Convention for such blasphemy. Congratulations! Welcome to the Clue Club!

      November 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • snowboarder

      duck – it wasn't even written within thousands of years of the fabled creation event, either, but was instead divinely inspired. sounds like fiction to me.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      But, but, but! I'm confused! Thumpers want us atheists to believe The Babble is the inerrant word of some god!

      November 30, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Yep, which is why anyone can make the bible "say" whatever they want....which is not a path to understanding.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • callnews

      I heard someone say that Hitler really was a good man. Let's all follow his example. Makes sense?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  10. KO

    Once upon a time people where persecuted for saying the world is round because bible says it is flat and has four corners.

    Now we know that that not true

    ( one of many things proven to pure ignorance in the bible )

    When has it EVER gone the other way ? ( bible proven science wrong )

    Answer: NEVER – not once – not even close to once

    November 30, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • lol??

      KO, a gubmint Church did that.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • o.quentus mattthews

      What Bible? your blible?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • BC

      Okay, I'll give you a good example. Scientists were very slow to accept the Big Bang because it meant there was a beginning – a Biblical truth that they denied.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • lol??

      BC, if what you say is true, and H saps have been around for 400,000 years, I'd say they are a little slow, like 399,950 years!

      November 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Usher also said the Earth was created on September 23rd, at 9:20 in the morning: that being said, why do we celebrate the beginning of the year on January 1st, or is that a man-made custom that now supercedes the Bible?

    November 30, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  12. Brampt

    Mr Robertson has it right at this one. Humans have existed for 6000 to 10000 years but earth has been around for millions.
    The bible account of the 6 creation day in genesis cannot be take as literal, there are other passages in the bible that talk about days, but does days represented years! The problem is that people misquote the scriptures... For example, for century's the church supported the idea that earth was flat, the ones opposing that idea would burn alive... But the bible for many century's before the Catholic Church existed around said that earth is circle.

    There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth... Isa 40:22.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ummm, circles are flat...

      The real problem is people think the bible was made by some god and give it explanatory powers it does not have.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Sane Person

      Humans have existed a lot longer than 6-10,000 years

      November 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Human

      Humans have been around MUCH longer than 6,000 to 10,000 years!

      November 30, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Humans have existed for 6000 to 10000 years "

      Modern hundred ans have been here for 200,000 years. Why do you nutters lie?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  13. Jimmy

    Funny most religious people do not belive in evolution, but thier sacred bible has evolved and chaged over the years

    how can you change a so called truth ?

    you cant

    but u can change a work of fiction ( look what they did to star wars )

    November 30, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Carol

      thank you Jimmy, suddenly it all makes sense

      November 30, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • tony

      Jimmy, evolution has no answer for HOW man came to be on this Earth. If anyone does REAL research they will find more empiracal evidence for the existance of God than the contrary.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Tony, here's your chance to do something that has never been done before – give us one indisputable bit of evidence for any god.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • snowboarder

      tony – that is just plain BS. name one piece of empirical evidence.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      I'm sorry tony, but that is a lie. It's if e if you purposefully chose to be ignorant about science. But when you come onto boards like this and post lies, expect to get called on it.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • fintastic

      Cat got your tongue Tony??

      December 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Mr. White

    If you were to delete every post here containing a logical fallacy, you'd have a very concise, readable commentary.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Eric G

      Please proceed with caution. If you call out all of the logical fallicies on this blog you will scare all the fundies away. Let's face it, this blog would be boring without them.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Hi Eric, It would still be exciting to read the Atheists blasting away at the beliefs people hold. I do find their arguments presented logically. But I feel pity for them – if you do not believe in anything, how can you hope for a better tomorrow.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • snowboarder

      joe – it is a common fallacy that atheists don't believe in anything. why would your hope for tomorrow hinge on some imaginary deity?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Eric G

      Hello Joe. Nice to have civil discourse. Speaking of logical fallicies, you state that Atheists don't believe in anything and due to that, they cannot have hope. First, an atheist does not believe in a god or gods becuase no verifiable evidence has ever been presented that supports the claim that any god or gods exist or existed. Nothing more, nothing less. Second, you will need to clearly define "belief" and then present evidence supporting your claim that it is required to have hope.

      Thank you for the vivid example to my point. Hope to hear from you again!

      November 30, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  15. Nietodarwin

    I was just writing in the comments section yesterday of the story about the Two and a Half Men Star, before THIS Pat Robertson story came out, how HAPPY I was to see the ratio of people of reason, logic, and science commenting on there to the number of religious. I said I was SO HAPPY because we are at the beginning of the beginning of the end of the influence of religion on our government, our society, and most importantly our children. Then, BOOM, here comes this story proving me correct. People of faith, quit shooting yourselves in the foot. Just go google "evolution" and read the wikipedia definition. Find some body to help you with the words you don't know. Don't get left behind.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • lol??

      Left behind??????? Wow, another version of the rapture! Those Dispensationalists are tricky.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  16. Pablo

    The amazing and sad part is the 46% of Americans who ignore science (the discipline that brought you aeronautics, medicine, mechanics, astronomy, etc), and instead believe the legends of a bronze age people. Ugh.

    November 30, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Eric G

      Why is 46% amazing when 50% of the people in this country are dumber than average?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • John A

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

      December 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Have you met a single person who can attest to this claim that there is anything at all after you die, John? Jesus doesn't count.

      December 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  17. Theo

    I dont think i ever seen so many peopel afraid, read these comments

    Yes the bible was made up by men 1000's of years ago, before they knew about dinosaurs, and that 2 people can not populate the earth, 6 million animals can not fit on one boat and survive, the world IS older then 6000 years, the world is ROUND and has no four corners. and animals do not talk ( nor burning bushes )

    Pure idiocracy that adults think such nonesense is plausible.

    November 30, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • lol??

      Now there's an honest educratist attempt at translation. Close enuff for gubmint work.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      I used to teach primary school, you can't let yourself get furious with the ignorant. I am SURE I get more angry than you do at these people, (because of the horrible effect they have on our governance, society, test scores, children's well being and future, etc.) We have to play nice and go slow. They have been brainwashed FOR YEARS. Remember, people used to think tomatoes were poison for centuries. OH fvck it. Let's keep cussing the ignorant. I AM more fed up than you.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • KO

      @lol?? who talks like that, besides people trying to pretend to be intelectual ?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Reasonable Logic

      If there was no God and the Bible was just foolishness that nobody believed in, then my friend you would be left with towns, cities, and countries operating like Gotham City. You are a fool and a coward for trying to claim something you know not to be true. Science and the Bible do not contradict, they work hand in hand, humans are the x factor.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • snowboarder

      reasonable – that is just plain BS. morals and civil society have existed throughout the world separate from any particular religion or deity.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Reasonable Logic

      Your definition of reasonable or mine, or that other guy or gal, etc? There would be no balance and you are foolish for believing such nonsense.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • snowboarder

      reasonable – to attribute morals and civility to religion is plain willful ignorance. nothing more.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Reasonable Logic

      How would you know, there hasn't been a time in history that God was not an influence of a civilization? You like to nit pick what you don't like about religion in general but never talk about the good that is created as a result. How about the only time religion becomes a problem is when it mixes with mans power and greediness?

      November 30, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • snowboarder

      reasonable – there has never been a time in history that religion has not mixed with mans greed and quest for power. that is, after all, how religion started.

      November 30, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  18. gladiatorgrl

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

    The way it IS – God's imaginary

    November 30, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  19. Nietodarwin

    Natural Selection is tending AGAINST religion now. It has favored it for thousands of years, but the times and rules are changing.

    November 30, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • gladiatorgrl

      Its 'cause in most of the world one doesn't get burned at the stake for not believing in folklore

      just like when there were no serial killers – just vampires and werewolves...

      November 30, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  20. Primewonk

    First off – kudos and thanks to Pat Robertson. I do not agree with almost everything you say, but I appreciate you saying this.

    Now – many of you remember Paul Broun, the republican congressman from Georgia who ran unopposed this year. He is the one who stated that "evolution, the big bang, and embryology are lies from the pit of hell". He is also a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology committee.

    What some of you may not know yet, is that this committee now has a new chairman – Lamar Smith (R) Texas. Mr. Smith is also a creationist. He is also a climate change denier. He is also a member of the Christian Scientist Church – the ones who don't believe in the science of medicine and think we should pray away disease.

    November 30, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • lol??

      Yeah wonk, use antibiotics for EVERYTHING. That'll work.

      November 30, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • snowboarder

      lol – your comment is just plain stupid.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Where did Primewonk suggest using antibiotics for anything, never mind everything?

      November 30, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • lol??

      I thought the antibiotic scandal was common knowledge.

      November 30, 2012 at 9:40 am |
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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.