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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 1998 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Creationism's Geologic Time Scale

Should the scientific community continue to fight rear-guard skirmishes with creationists, or insist that "young-earthers" defend their model in toto?

Donald Wise

Creation Week

As most people are aware, many creationists are called "young earth" proponents because they accept and defend the Genesis time scale of events, asserting that the universe and life were created in a single week and that this event could not have happened more than a few thousand years ago (Figure 2). The Biblical sequence of events for creation week is well known and includes phenomena requiring the suspension of almost all known laws of science. Some creationists even highlight the discrepancy between the Genesis sequence and the traditional "evolutionary order of appearance." John Morris (1994) gives the following comparisons as support for the Biblical sequence of events. Alternatively, a scientist might find the juxtaposition an excellent starting point for debate.

Biblical Order Evolutionary Order
Earth before sun and stars Sun and stars before earth
Land plants before sun Sun before land plants
First life forms are plants First life forms are marine organisms
Fruit trees before fish Fish before fruit trees
Fish before insects Insects before fish
Birds before land reptiles Reptiles before birds

The precise date of creation week in years varies among creationists. A good discussion of the history of this question starting with the Bishop of Ussher (1650) is given by W. R. Brice (1982). Henry Morris (1993) suggests that creation took place about 6,000 years ago and that the elapsed time from creation to the Noachian flood was 1,656 years. This means that the flood took place about 2350 B.C., a time somewhat after the start of recorded human history. John Morris (1994) notes that some uncertainties exist between the length of the Biblical time and the historical record but adds, "I suspect it is the secular chronology which needs revision."




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