How Old is the Earth?

how old is the earth really

FlyingSinger, Flickr.

SODOM & GOMORRAH: How old is the earth according to the Bible? What happened at Creation? Is the earth, as some people claim, only 6,000 years old? How do you explain dinosaurs and times before mankind? Many people miss the deeper meaning, for if you don’t understand the beginning you will never understand the end.

Let’s see what the how old the earth is according to the Bible:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

When were the heaven and earth created? In the beginning. I know it seems pedantic, but sometimes the obvious needs to be restated. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the world was created 6,000 years ago. How old is the earth, really? Fossils and archeological records state that the earth is billions of years old. God’s Word states it as well.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the waters.

The Hebrew language doesn’t have a verb for “to be”. Most of the time where you see “was”, it’s placed in italics, which means that the translators have added it to the text so that the passage makes sense. As you can see in Genesis 1:2, the verse makes little sense if it read “and darkness upon the face of the deep”. But notice that the first “was” isn’t in italics. This is because it is in the original language, but not in the way that the English implies.

According to the Strong’s Concordance, this word “was” is:

H1961
hâyâh
haw-yaw’
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary): – beacon, X altogether, be (-come, accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), continue, do, faint, fall, + follow, happen, X have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, X use.

The word means “become” or “come to pass”. The verse should read “And the earth became without form”. The same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 2:7 where it says that man became a living soul.
So much is lost in the translation. The phrase here in 1:2 in Hebrew is tôhû vâ bôhû. Tôhû in Hebrew is:

H8414
tôhû
to’-hoo

From an unused root meaning to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), that is, desert; figuratively a worthless thing; adverbially in vain: – confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness.

Bôhû is this:

H922
bôhû
bo’-hoo
From an unused root (meaning to be empty); a vacuity, that is, (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin: – emptiness, void.

Bôhû is an undistinguishable ruin. It’s something that’s so desolate and destroyed that you can’t even recognize its original form. This phrase here, with the word hâyâh means that the earth was not created tôhû, but became tôhû. Let me document.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

This word “vain” in the Hebrew manuscripts is tohû. It says here that He did not create the earth tohû, which is to say desolate. I want to take you to the book of Job, in chapter 40.

Some say that the Bible states that the world is only 6,000 years old when in reality God says that it’s considerably older. As you read this, I want you to think very carefully.

Job 40:15-24 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pieceth through snares.

Some say that this is talking about the hippopotamus or the elephant, but how well do you know either of these creatures? The hippopotamus lives in the water and the mud since it doesn’t have any sweat glands. Its tail is small, not at all like a cedar. The elephant lives in the plains and takes food up with its trunk to eat, and doesn’t graze like an ox. Its tail is like a limp piece of rope, not strong and big like a cedar tree. There’s only one animal that fits this description, and that’s a dinosaur. I’ve heard one person try and say that the behemoth is Satan, but this doesn’t make any sense since God is showing Job different kinds of animals and how Job should be like some of them in dealing with trouble. Why would God tell Job to be like Satan? He wouldn’t.

I also want you to read the part where it says that God made the behemoth when He made Job. Don’t skip over that, it’s very important. Job existed as far back as the dinosaurs, which was billions of years ago. His fleshly body didn’t, but his soul did. So did Jeremiah’s:

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Isaiah 49:1-2 Listen to me, you islands; hear this you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of His hand He hid me; He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver.

So did yours.

Ephesians 1:4-6 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.

Ephesians 1:11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.

Romans 8:29-30 For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.

John 15:26-27 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me; but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Revelation 17:8 …The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.

We existed in what Peter called “the world that was”:

2 Peter 3:6 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

The King James reads:

2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.
Peter then goes on to say that the world that is now is reserved to be destroyed by fire. Some say that Peter is talking about Noah’s flood here. Is this the case? The word “perished” in the Greek:

G622
apollumi
ap-ol’-loo-mee
From G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

The word means “to destroy fully”. Noah’s flood didn’t fully destroy the world, since vegetation still grew (the dove and the olive branch). When we ask, how old is the earth according to the Bible, we have to keep this in mind. This full destruction, let’s take a look at it:

Jeremiah 4:23-26 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.

The context of this vision that was granted to Jeremiah was God’s anger at His people. He said that they were fools, only practicing evil and not knowing how to do good. Basically God was saying that His people were ignorant, since God destroyed the world once before to get rid of evil and they’re thinking He won’t do it again.

This again isn’t Noah’s flood. Man still lived after that, and the flood didn’t blot out the lights of heaven. And think about this, there were towns then. Cities. Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

Special Study in the Greek: Themelios and Katabolê

The phrase “the foundation of the world” appears often in the New Testament, but they sometimes mean different things. Two Greek words are translated as “foundation”; the first is themelios and the second is katabolê. The noun themelios is present in Luke 6:48 and 49, Luke 14:29, Acts 16:26, Romans 15:20, 1 Corinthians 3:10-12, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Timothy 9:19, 2 Timothy 2:19, Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 11:10, Revelation 21:14 and Revelation 21:19. This word is never used concerning the world (kosmos) or the earth (gê). The verb for this word, themelioô occurs in Matthew 7:25, Luke 6:48, Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 1:23, Hebrews 1:10, and 1 Peter 5:10. Only once is it used concerning the earth, and this is in Hebrews 1:10. A review of all of these verses show that they are the correct terms for “to found” and “foundation”.

The noun katabolê occurs in Matthew 13:35, Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 9:26, Hebrews 11:11, 1 Peter 1:20, Revelation 13:8, and Revelation 17:8. The verb for this word, kataballô occurs in 2 Corinthians 4:9, Hebrews 6:1, and Revelation 12:10. A review of these verses (especially 2 Corinthians 4:9 and Revelation 12:10) will show that katabolê and kataballô are not the correct terms for founding and foundation. Instead, the correct translation should be “casting down” or “overthrow”. Consistency calls for the same translation in Hebrews 6:1, so that instead of “not laying again” it should be “not cast down”. That is, that the foundation was already laid for repentance and should not be cast down or overthrown, but was to be left and progress made unto the perfection. Equally so, the noun katabolê ought to be translated as such, to be something along the lines of “ruin” or “disruption”.

It is interesting to note that all occurrences, with the exception to Hebrews 11:11, the word is connected with “the world” and the word should therefore be rendered as “the disruption (or ruin) of the world”. This clearly refers to the condition stated by tôhû vâ bôhû. This is further confirmed by the fact that the phrase, which occurs ten times, is associated with the preposition apo, which means “from” seven times, and the preposition pro, which means “before” three times.

When we ask ourselves, “How old is the earth according to the Bible?” we must ask ourselves how old is this age and what does God’s Word say about the overall plan for Creation? The answer actually supports the claim that the earth is 4.6 billion years old.