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. Lordy, Lordy.

    Slowly, it turns, reason and logic pervail.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Tom

    Earth was populated by excess hairdressers and telephone sanitizers that a more advance civilization had no use for.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  3. religion is a fable

    Lets see, I believe that cutting out ones heart is ok as long as the holy spirit is with us. Now, I know that Doctors trained in their science would beg to differ, but my religion tells me that this is ok so I am going to believe my fables other than trained Doctors that have studied. Yeah, that is pretty much what the argument of religion boils down to. Your religion is garbage, doesnt matter which one you pick. They are all lies and you are a fool for following! There. Are. No. Gods! And you know it!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  4. Michael King

    Read this: Scientist are constantly finding out they are Wrong. http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2012/11/29/black_hole_in_a_nearby_galaxy_is_much_bigger_than_expected.html (Heb 11:3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Ussher may have made some mistakes (his word is not inspired ... but God's is!) Why do people who believe in God find it so hard to believe God could create everything in 6 days? Is He Almighty God, or not? ... He is. Don't you think He knew how long a day was when He inspired Genesis? We walk by Faith and not by sight.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Will

      No kidding. Science is wrong quite a bit, and in fact science NEVER CLAIMS TO BE 100% CORRECT. That's religion's angle, not science's.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • sbp

      Science is always finding out it was wrong BECAUSE it it NOT DOGMATIC, and constantly seeking to correct itself in pursuit of facts. Religions by their own self created definitions don't allow themselves to be wrong. So even if they ARE (like with the age of the earth). true believers simply refuse to accept it.

      Your argument boils down to 2+2=5, because the Bible says so. And don't you dare disagree, because it HAS to be 5.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Haggis

      OK, so let's say God DID create everything in 6 days. How long ago were those 6 days? And if he created everything, surely he is smart enough to allow for evolution and other dynamics of nature. So, dinosaurs existing 65 milllion years ago, and the "creation" of the earth in 6 days are not mutually exclusive.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • leonid7

      So rather than trust empirical evidence in science and be wrong some of the time, you'd rather ignore said evidence and make sure you are wrong all the time? I'm so weary of the reductio ad absurdum argument that science is always finding out it is wrong so that is a reason not to believe it. Our scientific knowledge is constantly expanding and is actually allowed to change when evidence demands.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Mike

      Your faith is your business, but I would say that if your faith trumps what you can physically see and know, then your faith is a blind error prone faith. But it is your faith and you can hold onto that all you want.

      And a day is a revolution of the earth, something not understood by the original human authors of the bible who believed that the setting of the sun was universal.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • kevin

      Not. That's the answer to your questions.

      He is not almighty god. He is an imaginary friend who wants you to give his earthly evangelical friends money and wants you to be all judgy about other people's business.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Why do people who believe in God find it so hard to believe God could create everything in 6 days? Is He Almighty God, or not? ... He is. Don't you think He knew how long a day was when He inspired Genesis?'

      why do people that believe in god think it would take any longer that an instant to create everything, everywhere? why, if he truly is a god, would it take him any length of time at all? why do you accept that it would take as long as 6 days?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      "We walk by Faith and not by sight."

      a christian walk into a barr and say ouch!!

      November 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  5. Snake Oil Salesman

    Look at my fakey smile. Just as long as they think they need to call my show, is all I care. Give me your money. Fools.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Lordy, Lordy.

      What can your snake oil do for me, I have several problems please advise.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  6. Mark

    I have faith, faith the sun will come up tomorrow, and faith that I will have to pay taxes next April. lol

    November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  7. dscot

    LOL! Have a seat Rubio. When your positions are wackier than Roberston, you're done. It's over, kid.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • hamiltos777


      Yes, do tell.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • dscot

      @hamiltos777, in the reference you cite:

      [Obama] "strongly believes in the principles of science and evolution, saying that they coexist alongside and even strengthen his religious views. That's very much in line with his early stated goals and subsequent successes in pushing for increased funding for scientific initiatives and promoting the importance of teaching evolution in schools. Rubio, on the other hand, appeared to suggest that creationism should be taught as a competing theory to evolution."

      November 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  8. Emile_Mervin

    Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 really is a summary of the beginning eternity and time. Heaven represents eternity and earth represents time. To put this creation process in context, we must understand that heaven, where God dwells, existed before earth, because before Lucifer fell, he was the worhsip leader of all angelic beings. It was after Lucifer fell that God selected the planet earth of all the other planets out to create plants, trees, birds, fishes, animals and man. What we do know for sure is that since the creation of earth as a habitation for living beings and things, the earth underwent major natural changes and many life forms became extinct. Simultaneously, there are still life forms out there that man has not yet discovered and is still discovering. Carbon dating that shows dinosaurs existed thousands of years ago before the approximate date given (six or seven thousand years ) for creation of earth and its inhabitants can be debated, but let us not be deceived by attempts to use science to cast doubt on creation. If science can be used to convince us that dinosaurs existed ten thousand or one million years ago, it will then be used to argue that creationism believers are wrong that God created earth 6000 or 7000 years ago. That's the real end game plan of scientists and atheists – to question and then doubt God.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You win the dumb dumb award for today.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Oh, and your off by about 247 million years.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Will

      You are way off the reservation Emile. Science doesn't give a hoot about disproving religion. Science is the search for answers based upon facts that can be proven. And if you don't like it, then I suggest you turn off the COMPUTER you are using and disconnect from the INTERNET. Accept the fact that you are a hypocrite and go live in a cave.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Pete

      Dinosaurs didn't exist 10,000 or even a million years ago. They went extinct around 63 million years ago I believe.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • PaulB

      It may not disprove it directly, but science has found nothing to support the idea of creation, any creation, from any of the thousands of creation stories found in the worlds religions and mythologies, including the Genesis accounts.

      Consider this also. Why has none of these ancient stories ever described the creation of, or even knowledge of, the microscopic world? Funny how the stories can only describe what humans could see for themselves at that time, isn't it?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • test

      Do you know Adam's blood type?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Hi Emile, my name is sam, Aka lucifer

      what do you even now of my fall... let me tell you something Humans was the reason i fell,.. me and my followers were told to watch you and we kinda fell in love. next thing you know it marriage and a baby in a baby carriage, god got made and kicked me out. it was kinda like had dad, i want you to meet my wife her name is Istahar, she human. it like bringing a black girl to meet your parent if their white and um racist. any ways i digress the story of creation in genius was written after is Israel fell to Babylon that why it reflect the story as well as Noah's story is reflected with Gilgamesh, their forgeries

      Yahweh only ever created destruction he is a god of war after all

      November 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Consider this also. Why has none of these ancient stories ever described the creation of, or even knowledge of, the microscopic world? Funny how the stories can only describe what humans could see for themselves at that time, isn't it?

      in the 1 century Buddha explained to a king the intercity world of the Innerverse in which beings brakes down to smaller forms of being.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'That's the real end game plan of scientists and atheists – to question and then doubt God.'


      November 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  9. HMS Beagle

    Scary that atheism actually makes you dumber. We have removed "God" and the bible from our schools. Since our education level compared to world levels has been on a constant slide. Let alone the increase in school suicides and shootings...

    November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You've got to be a poe, noe one is this stupid.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • HMS Beagle

      LOL, it is true, look it up. Want me to teach you how to use Google?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Will

      HMS – that's what's called false causality. It's a sign of your poor education.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Oh kiddo,

      You actually believe it? That's a little depressing. Let's look at the factors why US education is sliding. You say we've "removed god". Me, along with people with brains, know it's because decreasing educational funds, not focusing on science and math like other countries, instead opting to pour a huge portion of our budget towards war, as well as how schools are curved and tested.

      But you can go ahead believing your own idio.cies and lies. Apparently god takes it out on the US by lowering us in education according to world standards instead of his usual go-to of fire and brimstone.....

      November 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • test

      HMS, what's Adam's blood type?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Chris R

      Since we've 'removed' God from school (though it was never really in public schools because religious types didn't want schools teaching their kids someone else's religious variant) we've also seen ocean levels rise. We've seen a massive growth the the economic output of the united states. We've seen the Berlin Wall fall and the Soviet Union collapse. Fuel efficiency in cars has also increased and so has the square footage of the average house. Worker productivity has seen constant gains and the price of storage (on a per bit basis) has fallen. Are all of these things the result of removing God from the schools? Or could it be that in the post-sputnik era we've seen a dramatic refocusing of funding away from science and math education in the face of decreasing youth populations and increasing government debt?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'HMS Beagle – Scary that atheism actually makes you dumber. We have removed "God" and the bible from our schools. Since our education level compared to world levels has been on a constant slide. Let alone the increase in school suicides and shootings...'

      for starters religion has no place in schools so thats not an argument.
      but here is the question.....what has removing god from school got to do with US being bad at say math or science when compared to the rest of the world? seriously?

      November 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • TADA

      wait, wait, wait.....the top performing academic countries are South Korea, Finland and Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China. U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, 25th in math as per reported by the Associated Press. Those 5 places are not predominantly christian so how does that work with your argument?

      November 30, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • mathew

      Right thats exactly why athiests have higher IQ rates then believers lol. The one thing that is certian though is the higher your scienctific pursuits in any discpline, the better the chance your an athiest or agnostic.

      December 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  10. Mike Mazzla

    Just the fact that someone would call him up with such a ludicrous question about worrying about her husband and kids not going to heaven because they didnt believe the bible /dinosaur timeline just goes to show the number of pure idiots that still populate this country. I mean this person is raising children and asking that, It would be funny if it wasnt so scary

    November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  11. Richard Miller

    Jeez, debunking the creationists views. Pat, you are going to go straight to hell for that view. But thanks for setting the record straight. The rest of us pagans already know that the bible is one of mankind's best works of fiction ever written.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  12. RebelTexasDemocrat

    I KNOW that humans were here WAY more than 10,000 years ago. My ex mother-in-law is living proof. She's been here spreading her evil for at least 3 million years......... 🙂 LOL

    November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Mike Mazzla


      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Pope St. Sponge Bob with baggy pants and filthy mitre of the god Dagon where the arc came from.

    The omnipotent gods made a cranky child who could create universes. She made ours.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  14. Scholar

    The Bible was written by many people over a long period of time.
    It is more an allegory than a scientific tome.
    Who are we to belittle the grandeur of God by saying it is not possible that we came to be over the eons it took to bring us to today in our present form?
    What if God's plan was not told accurately and that the full story is, instead, far more complex and far more grand?

    We are only now discovering that DNA, in addition to the genes we know to be there, also contains complex programming instructions to turn on and turn off genes, and that programming portion is larger than the known genes. Is the work of God written within ourselves in the DNA programming?

    The authors of the Bible wrote what they thought was reality when they wrote, but should all time stand still and consider those authors perfect in their personal understanding? Is that not a form of pride?

    The universe is greater than told in the Bible, and the discovery of God's works is continuing.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Pope St. Sponge Bob with baggy pants and filthy mitre of the god Dagon where the arc came from.

      Who are we to create gods to explain things for which we have no other explanations ? They are all gods of the gaps. Clearly the one that made this universe could care less about how many children die this year from starvation. Get a grip.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Mike Mazzla

      and you kow this how??? lol

      November 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      The universe is greater than told in the Bible
      You've got this much correct.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Sandra

      The 'bible' is a compilation of stories/fables that bronze age dessert dwellers stole from even older cultures (Egypt, Sumeria, Babylonia, China). The Epic of Gilgamesh for one. Then a bunch of tribal leaders decided to tack on their own rules and regulations. I'm still betting that the reason shellfish is such a no no in the 'Old Testament" is because someone of import ate some, had an allergic reaction, so that made it *all* bad.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Centrist Christian

      Well said, Scholar. As one of my theology professors in college (and a Catholic monk) put it, "The Bible is not a science book, it is not a history book, and it should not be read or used as such." People have to learn to read between the lines when reading the Bible. When preachers and theologians say that the Bible is the Truth, many are not talking about the Truth in a purely scientific or historical sense. The truth in the Bible is more the truth about God and his relationship with us than historical truth. While there are some historical facts and events in the Bible, such as the Exodus from Egypt, the reign of kings Saul, David and Solomon, and the ministry of Jesus, other events, such as the Adam and Eve story and Noah's Ark, are just that: stories. They're there to illustrate broader moral lessons and points about God and his relationship with his creation instead of trying to instruct us about exactly how the story of creation took place.

      You can be a Christian and know that the world was created through evolution! Evolution answers the question of how the various forms of life as we know them today have come to be and how they could change in the future. It does not explain the first origin of this universe or all the forms of life in it. To follow along with what Scholar said, who are we to say that God could only have created the world in seven sets of 24 hours, and that's the only possible way it could have happened? What if God created the world, and evolution was HOW he did it? At least, that's what I believe. Despite what hard-line fundamentalist Christians and atheists/anti-theists would have people believe, science and religion can coexist, and people can "believe" in and study them both!

      November 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  15. Sam Yaza

    the druids say it was approx 12,000 years ago Danu purified the world and created life, we even know that wrong by and older religion bet you to the punch, even the Babylonians said it happened 65,000 years ago but still not old enough. the fact is your god lied

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  16. Will

    Good point and question. First, a creator is not accepted by 99% of society, at least not in the US and Europe. And I think that the problem with creationism living with evolution is on the creationism side, not the evolution side.

    Evolution – as part of science – does not take a stand on creationism. It does not say that a god didn't start the whole process, guide the process, or even plant the fossils and evidence to make evolution appear to be real. All it says is that based upon the evidence here's what happened. A thinking person could assume that a god wanted it all to look this way and therefore created evolution to make it happen.

    Creationism is threatened by this, especially those who hold a literal interpretation of the bible. The earth was created by god over 7 days and it 6,000 years old. Period. The problem is they spend their time attacking evolution and the evidence that supports it. They have no merit to their attacks – as mentioned 25 years after evolution was posited, it was accepted and taught at most major universities. There was overwhelming enough evidence even back then, during a less technologically sophisticated and more religious time. So creationist feel threatened, and unfortunately some anti-theists (note I didn't say atheist, as that is different) use this to attack them. Possibly rightly so, if they are trying to deny the obvious science in classrooms and law.

    Hope that helps – it's my opinion mixed in with a lot of discussion over the years. Wish you the best.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  17. Paul Dushkind

    Pat Robertson is showing a glimmer of intelligence, but this is the same man who called Charles Darwin a bad influence.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  18. Climate

    Then once you get past the fact that the weather is becoming more detrimental and get past who did it, whether it happened 100,000 years ago naturally, and etc .. .then you can move on to deciding "well is there anything remotely we can do about it with all our brains and science or should we just let mother nature steam roll us when the time comes.. or maybe we'll all be taken away in the lords magic space ship when he smites the earth with fire.. etc.. "

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      nope ill stay he and defend the earth from his smiting. as long as i respect and revere nature the only thing i have to fear is her wrath. and if she want to kill of 99.9% of the population then she can. i fore one am strong enough and smart enough to get out of her way.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    Pat Robertson is a homophobe – Boooo!

    He has financial ties to evil dictators in Liberia and Zaire – Unacceptable!

    He believed that Ariel Sharon’s poor health was an act of God. Huh?

    He said that the ACLU, the pagans, the abortionists, the feminists, the gays and the lesbians helped the terror attacks on September 11th happen. – Wait, what?

    He said Katrina was God’s punishment in response to America’s abortion policy. – Ok that is enough!

    He said the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster should be blaimed on Haiti’s founders who had sworn a “pact to the Devil”. – Oh for the love of...

    He said the Earth is older than 6000 years. – Yea Pat!

    November 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes. I would label him an opportunist and a loon. Not to be trusted – even if he happens to once in a while say something that makes sense. Who knows what the hell he will say tomorrow.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      note pat;


      I'm a Pagan B!s3x4@l Feminist in the ACLU and i fight for abortion right for Evey one on earth.

      not to mention an anti-Yah-ist
      I'm everything Christians hate

      but i don't mind because I'm in the right

      November 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  20. HMS Beagle

    Robertson, like all "Mega-Church" pastors are complete and total quacks....

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

      That could mean he's a perfect idiot instead of merely a great one.
      There will always be someone whose idiocy is more perfect.

      November 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • John A


      November 30, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
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About this blog

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.