Of all of the questions we’ve receive since launching Creation Revolution on October 1, 2010, the topic of time has to be the most common. People question what the word ‘day’ means in Genesis 1, or they ask about a possible gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, or they just flat out believe that God used evolution and millions of years as His creative process. This past week, we received another question dealing with time, only this one was presented differently, so I thought I would address it in this week’s Feed Back.
Subject: Creation to Jesus’ birth
Hello, I was listening to a Christian radio station and hear something that I caused me to contemplate time. The teacher said that there were approximately 4,000 years between Creation and the birth of Jesus. I’ve been wrestling with this statement, not understanding how it could have been merely 4,000 years since I had thought the earth and everything in it was created millions of years ago. Thank you for your help.
Mary, I am pleased that you asked this question as it focuses on the timing of Jesus’ birth in relation to creation, rather than the total time from creation to now.
First, I want you to understand that we need to start with the Bible for the answers to our questions. The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God and is true from the very first verse to the very last verse. It is the only source of absolute truth. If you can’t believe just one thing in the Bible, then how can you believe any of it, and that is especially true when speaking of Jesus Christ. If the history in the Bible isn’t true, then neither is the history of Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection and if that’s not true, then Christianity is bankrupt and means nothing.
Too many people today start with the words of men and then use them to determine what to believe and what not to believe in the Bible. Man is a sinner and as such nothing he says or writes is absolute truth. Man’s views of history are errant and very fallible, which is why the accounts of history are constantly changing. God’s Word never changes.
You asked about the claim of there being only 4,000 years between the creation and Jesus’ birth. Turning to God’s Word, we can follow the genealogies listed and count the years from creation to Abraham to David to Jesus.
In Genesis 5 we learn about the generations from Adam to Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. It is easy to count up the years. In fact, if you plot them all out on a graph, you may be surprised to learn that Lamech, Noah’s father was born 56 years prior to the death of Adam. This means that he would have known and spoken to Adam face-to-face and then pass that knowledge down his son Noah and Noah’s sons.
Additionally but adding up the years in Genesis 5 we can place the Genesis Flood to have taken place around 1656 years after Creation.
Next we need to go to Genesis 11 and read about the genealogies from Noah’s son Shem to Abram (Abraham). Again, plot them out and add up the years and it places the birth of Abram about 294 years after the Genesis Flood and about 1,950 years after creation.
Now let’s move to Matthew 1 where we read the genealogy from Abraham to David to Jesus. This chapter does list years and ages like the early ones do, but it does say that there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David and fourteen generations from David to Jesus. When we go back to our charts from Genesis 5 and 11, we see that Abraham was 19 generations from Adam.
You can also check the genealogy of Jesus in 1 Chronicles 1:1-27 and Luke 3:23-38. For a good article on the genealogies from Adam to Jesus and some of the concerns and arguments surrounding them, I highly recommend you read Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s article Biblical chronogenealogies.
Another source for the genealogies and the age of the earth can be found in the monumental work of Archbishop James Ussher who spent years studying the Bible and all other ancient texts that he could locate. He compiled his research in a book published in Latin in 1654. Annals of the World was then translated from the Latin into English by Larry and Marion Pierce of Canada.
Ussher’s vast research led him to conclude that God started creation on what would be October 23, 4004 BC on our calendar. That would also place creation a mere 6016 years ago, come October. Many biblical scholars have examined Ussher’s work and have not been able to find any real flaws in it. Most of the objections come from people who do not believe in a young earth to begin with, so they use the words of men to counter Ussher’s understanding of Scripture.
We also have a huge wall chart, Adam’s Chart of History that has all of the genealogies from Adam to Abraham to David to Jesus and beyond. It was originally published in 1871 and is a wonderful tool for putting the people and events of history in their place and helping one to understand how it all fits together.
Mary, I pray that all of this helps you understand that what you heard on the radio was in fact accurate and that there was only about 4,000 years between creation and the birth of Jesus. I also pray it helps you understand that the world is not millions of years old. If you do a search on Creation Revolution for age of the earth, you will see that there is a tremendous amount of evidence, biblical and scientific, that supports a young age for the earth.
Thank you again for sending us your question.
Beautiful pictorial wall chart depicting world history from Creation Week through major biblical events in the Old and New Testaments, as well as secular events corresponding to Bible dates, and on to the present day.