The Appearance of Age
A mischievous man walked up to an elderly woman and asked: "Lady, how old are you?" She indignantly replied: "Sir, my age is my business!" The man then replied: "Well, lady, it looks like you've been in business a long time." In American culture it is considered inappropriate to ask a woman her age. However, a reasonable estimate of a person's age can be made by examining his or her appearance. Though such is no guarantee of accuracy, a consideration of the physical characteristics such as wrinkles, hair color, hands, etc. will often provide enough information to make a good guess. It would be absurd to suppose that a person with gray hair, numerous facial wrinkles, and obvious signs of aging on his hands would be only 20 years old. Likewise, it would be ridiculous to presume that a person with flawless skin, a strong body, and dark hair would be in his eighties.

However, does this same line of reasoning work when one considers the age of something much older and larger--like planet Earth? Many scientists think so. They study physical characteristics of the Earth and conclude that certain qualities would not be present unless the Earth had existed for millions--even billions--of years. Take the Grand Canyon for example. Most scientists would suggest that erosion is the cause of that beautiful carved out trench. They would affirm that, little by little, water and wind slowly cut out the marvelous canyon over eons of time.

But friends, could it have happened another way? It is undeniable that the Earth possesses certain qualities that suggest it is extremely old, but are there other possible explanations? For those who genuinely believe the Bible is the inspired word of God (and thus, accurate in every detail), the answer must be "yes," for Biblical chronology will not allow for Earth to be much beyond 6000 years old (the "Gap" and "Day-Age" theories, not withstanding, which we will briefly consider tomorrow). In the Genesis account of the creation, Moses describes God as creating all forms of life in their mature form. Adam was created as a full-grown man on the sixth day of creation (Gen. 1:31). Such is implied by the divine command issued to he and his wife to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). Adam did not have to learn to walk or talk; he did not go through puberty. He was created in a fully developed form, even reproductively.

Now that raises an interesting question: "How old was Adam two seconds after he was created?" The answer: two seconds old! Admittedly, Adam would have appeared to be many years old, but in actuality, he was not even one minute old! Adam and the rest of God's wonderful creation were created with the appearance of age simply because God crafted a physically mature world. Truly, the chicken came first, not the egg, and the chicken looked much older than it actually was chronologically. It was full-grown two seconds after its creation, just like Adam.

Friends, is it reasonable to think that God would create man and other animals in a mature state, but fashion an Earth that looked brand new and immature? Is it possible that the Earth, like Adam, looked much older than it actually was just two seconds after God formed it? Indeed, it is possible. As a firm believer in all of God's word, I am not troubled when the scientific world tries to tell me that the Earth is billions of years old. I know from the Biblical genealogical records (and many other evidences), that such is simply not true. Does the Earth appear to be ancient in some ways? No one would deny such. However, just because something appears to be old does not always mean that it is. There could be other factors at work. In the case of the Grand Canyon, it is possible that God created it as part of the mature world He fashioned for mankind. Or, it is even more likely that the canyon could have been a by-product of the global flood in Noah's day, which had a catastrophic effect upon the Earth. Either position is reasonable. Don't give up your faith in the Biblical account of the creation because science says the Earth has been "in business" a long time. There are other possible explanations that do not contradict the divine record.