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The age of the earth can be estimated by taking the first five days of creation (from earth’s creation to Adam), then following the genealogies from Adam to Abraham in Genesis 5 and 11, then adding in the time from Abraham to today.
Adam was created on day 6, so there were five days before him. So a simple calculation is: At this point, the first five days are negligible.
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But we wouldn’t expect an all-knowing God to make that kind of a mistake. In essence, He gave us a “birth certificate.” For example, using a personal birth certificate, a person can calculate how old he is at any point. Genesis 1 says that the earth was created on the first day of creation ().This is expected since everyone was descended from Noah and scattered from the Tower of Babel.Another expectation is that there should be some discrepancies about the age of the earth among people as they scattered throughout the world, taking their uninspired records or oral history to different parts of the globe.Smith and Cuvier believed untold ages were needed for the formation of rock layers. No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.12 This viewpoint is called naturalistic uniformitarianism, and it excludes any major catastrophes such as Noah’s flood.Hutton said he could see no geological evidence of a beginning of the earth; and building on Hutton’s thinking, Lyell advocated “millions of years.” From these men and others came the consensus view that the geologic layers were laid down slowly over long periods of time based on the rates at which we see them accumulating today. Though some, such as Cuvier and Smith, believed in multiple catastrophes separated by long periods of time, the uniformitarian concept became the ruling dogma in geology.
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Their dates of only thousands of years are good support for the biblical date of about 6,000 years, but not for billions of years. The approximate 6,000-year age for the earth was challenged only rather recently, beginning in the late 18th century.