Bible Chronology and it’s Connection to Young Earth Creationism

WHAT IF THE WORLD WERE 7,500 YEARS OLD INSTEAD OF 6,000 YEARS OLD?

Is a Young Earth view dependent upon the Bible Chronology of Bishop Ussher and the King James Bible?  Could it be based, instead, on the Septuagint’s Chronology which says Genesis 1 took place 7,500 years ago? What difference would it make?


One of the intriguing linkages between Bible Chronology and our worldview is that the age of the earth  is typically tied to the date when Adam and Eve were created.  If we are committed to a biblical worldview, we often assume that the Bible Chronology of Genesis 5 and 11 indicates that Adam and Eve were created in 4004 BC per Ussher’s dating (essentially the same as the King James Version (KJV)), that the world itself and the universe must also be the same age too. That is, there is no obvious gap between Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2 from the rest of the Bible thereafter.

Bishop James Ussher

Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is inexorably tied to this point of view. If you review any YEC video on the internet you will see reference to a young earth of 6,000 years… 4,000 years before Christ and 2000 years afterwards (rounded). YEC argues the world cannot be old, like 4.5 billion years old, as most scientists claim it is. To interpret the Bible any other way, YEC contends, is a failure to respect the authority of scripture.

This is the view of Ken Ham.  He expressed this repeatedly in a debate with Hugh Ross viewable on YouTube. [2] Both are evangelicals. But while Ken Ham is a YEC advocate, Hugh Ross is a believer in intelligent design and an old earth model. Both claim to believe the Bible to be God’s infallible, inerrant Word. Nevertheless, they could never see eye to eye because Ham argued that the issue was the authority of Scripture while Ross argued it was an issue of biblical interpretation.  From my perspective, to argue that YEC is a matter of scriptural authority and not interpretation is an unwillingness to debate fairly, and gainsaying the opposing view.  Ham is a dogmatist.  Only His view can be correct.  It is impossible His interpretation is wrong.  His view is what the Bible says…period.  Do I agree with Hugh Ross? Not necessarily, but I am frustrated by Ham’s polemical style.

However, let’s assume that the timing of the entire creation is the same as the creation of Adam and Eve.  The standard view is that humanity was created in the sixth day of a seven day week of 24 hours per day.  The plain meaning of scripture seems to say this.  The Hebrew word for day is pronounced yown and while yown can mean many different things such as “the day of Noah” or “the day of the Lord,” Genesis appears to speak of six, twenty four hour periods.  That is my view.  I do think that is the proper way to understand Genesis 1. Consequently, I don’t subscribe to the “day-age” theory which is also known as concordism. [1]  But neither do I feel wedded to the idea that the world has to be less than 10,000 years old.  There are a spectrum of options between these two extremes.

However, in my book, REBOOTING THE BIBLE, I point out that the biblical chronology, the true chronology, is what the Septuagint teaches.  And it’s view is supported by many ancient sources including Josephus, the Samaritan Pentateuch (partially), and a Latin book whose English translation is known as The Book of Biblical Antiquities.  This latter book was written and published ar the same time as Jesus walked the earth.  All of these sources, plus most of the Patriarchs of the early church,  (the so-called Church Fathers), taught that both the age of the earth and Adam and Eve’s creation was 5,600 years before Jesus, rather than 4,000 years.  Today’s date regarding anno mundi, (since the beginning of the world), would be 7635 years rather than 6023, or a discrepancy between the two Bibles of 1,612 years.  Keep in mind the Jewish year is 5778. If it truly followed the inspired scriptures, it would be 7635.

The Septuagint’s Chronology indicates that Noah’s Flood was ca. 3350 BC rather than 2350, a difference of one thousand years.  And regarding the time between Adam’s creation and Noah’s Flood, there were 2,260 years separation rather than 1,660 years (rounded) in the KJV/Ussher method, a 600 year difference.

Ussher’s Chronology

My argument is that YEC benefits a great deal by going with the Septuagint’s Chronology rather than the KJV/Bishop Ussher’s.  The timeline is far less compressed when going with the LXX counting. It supplies many more years enabling the Bible’s timeline to be better reconciled with Mesopotamian and Egyptian archeology. From an apologetic standpoint, it is a much stronger reckoning. Consider that the KJV chronology contradicts our empirically-based archeology by 1,000 years.  That is enormous.  For instance, the Egyptian pyramids would be several hundred years older than the Tower of Babel since, with the KJV chronology, the Tower of Babel had to have happened about 2150 BC.  This cases some logical problems.  Nathan Hoffman’s clever video, “Were the Pyramids Built Before the Flood?” makes these contradictions plain.  Watch his 30-minute video linked below to appreciate the full-impact of these matters:

Nathan does a super job of explaining the gist of the issues.  There is more to the story and a mountain of additional evidence to support the case for the Septuagint that Nathan argues. In fact, there are a only few things that Nathan might have gotten wrong.  But such details a book like mine can refine in 400-plus pages. That’s very hard to do in a half-hour. Nathan and I talk almost weekly via email and I hope to work with him in the future.  He has read my book and is in agreement in most points with my book as I am with him on his awesome video.

So, please note: I am not a YEC person.  I believe there was a substantial period of time either between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 or alternatively between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2:4.  How much?  I’m not sure. But I believe there was a substantial gap. And I don’t necessarily trust secular science.  On the other hand, I find a lot to be liked in the Electric Universe Model which argues the earth is older than YEC claims but far younger than secular science asserts.  It may be the happy medium.  We shall see as it’s reserach is not much more than a couple of decades old.

So why is there such a difference? Why does the Septuagint chronology differ so much from the KJV and the Masoretic text version?  That’s one of the main topics of my book, Rebooting the Bible.  I hope you can find the time to read about why the Septuagint is more accurate than the KJV… And why the Masoretic was intentionally corrupted by the Jewish rabbis as the first century AD came to a close

While you’re thinking about this, ask yourself whether YEC is actually not just wedded to a 6,000-year-old earth, but to the KJV too. To be clear, this is the underlying point of my article.  You see, I believe that in most cases these two things are linked.  The two, Chronology and the supposed inerrancy of the KJV, are both regarded by YEC as “what God hath revealed.”  The 6,000 year old earth is seen as a matter of Biblical Authority. And that is unfortunate.  Because, as open-minded persons study and conclude that this view of biblical chronology has too many problems to be viable, they lose faith in the Bible.  The Septuagint could radically change this equation.  But if we won’t consider its true place in teaching biblical history, we deny ourselves and our children the right to have an unfettered view of what the Bible really teaches about primeval history… all because of a misguided view of the KJV.

While the KJV is the most important version of the Bible in the history of the Western World, it still has problems.  And these problems weren’t an accident.  That fact is the best kept secret of how we got our Bibles. This perspective hurts our witness to the unbelieving world.  As Nathan’s video shows so well, when we get the dates wrong… by a whole lot mind you… we look like fools and our Bible’s credibility is harmed. So it makes a big difference.  That’s why I spent this past year writing Rebooting the Bible.

Rebooting the Bible…It’s available now on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.  Pricing is about $20.00 for the printed version and $10.00 for the Kindle digital version.  I hope you’ll pick up a copy and study it carefully,


Notes

[1]. “The word “concordism” is found in neither Merriam Webster nor the Oxford English Dictionary, yet it’s often used in contemporary works dealing with origins. Derived from the word “concord,” meaning a state of harmony, “concordism” has been used sparingly in English for more than a century. However, its prominence today comes from a thoroughly scholarly book written shortly after World War Two by the late Baptist theologian Bernard RammThe Christian View of Science and Scripture (1954). As Ramm defined it, concordism “seeks a harmony of the geologic record and the days of Genesis,” by which he really meant an old-earth creationist approach.”  See https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/science-and-the-bible-concordism-part-1.

[2] YouTube video file.

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