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Bringing the Real World to Genesis: Can the Bible Establish the Age of the Earth?


The late Siegfried Horn, who at the time was dean of the Theological Seminary at Andrews University, authored the following article. In it, we encounter reasons for thinking twice about using biblical chronology as a measure for the age of the earth. Dr. Horn points out that many dates we rely upon prophetically are not universally embraced for their historicity. He further notes that many dates about which there is little controversy are frequently derived by relying upon secular source material—not from Scripture itself. Most importantly, he notes that the earliest periods referenced in the Genesis account represent some of the more tenuous periods when it comes to dating. In many cases it depends upon the translation being used (such as the Hebrew Massoretic text, the Septuagint, or the Samaritan Pentateuch), with wide dating variations existing between them. Such reasons form the basis for rejecting the credibility of the chronology published by Archbishop James Ussher that found its way into the margins of the King James Bible from 1679 until more recent times. While many Adventist are resistant to cosmological and geological data that would seem to point quite compellingly to massive expanses of time, generally do so on the basis of Ellen White’s understanding even though it is widely recognized that she was indebted to her own YEC views as a result of the widely circulated views of James Ussher. For those interested in some of the details of this discussion, this article is a good read. 

– Jan M. Long

To conclude our “Bringing the Real World to Genesis” series, curated by Jan M. Long, we are republishing 10 articles from the Spectrum journal. This is the eighth article. Previous “Bringing the Real World to Genesis” articles can be found here.



Can the Bible Establish the Age of the Earth

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