I receive the “Does God Exist?” periodical. I am one to agree with the
notion that the Bible does not say that the earth/universe is 6,000 years
old. It seems to me that many arrive at that conclusion based on the time
dating back to Adam. By taking the age that the Bible says Adam lived to,
then adding up all the the subsequent life spans in the genealogies
leading up to the time of Christ, and finally adding 2,000 more years to
bring us up to the present day, the total would come to approximately
6,000 years. I can see how it is unclear to determine just how much time
preceded Adam from “in the beginning” plus the 6 days or “ages”, but this
still leaves me confused about just how long man has been on the earth. It
would seem that that is one area that the Bible does give a fairly clear
answer to. By doing the math one must conclude the answer to be
approximately 6,000 years. This is one subject I don’t recall reading
about in the “Does God Exist?” journal- the actual age of man. It is
something that fascinates me and is something I would like to hear your
opinion on.

You ask a good question. I would agree with you that one could “do
the math” and calculate, not an age for the earth, but how long ago Adam
and Eve were created from the numbers provided in Genesis.

However, there are some problems with this. The fact is that for
the Jews, chronologies are not always complete. In Luke and Matthew, the
chronologies appear to skip generations. When the Old Testament calls
someone the father of someone else, it may refer to a grandparent or even
a more distant relationship. There are specific examples one can point
to. For material on this, I would refer you to a book by Doug Jacoby,
“Genesis, Science and History (available at www.ipibooks.com ). Because
of uncertainties about the generations, one would do well to not push the
Genesis account to imply a definite amount of time. It would be fair to
say that the numbers provided in Genesis could be used to calculate a
minimum possible age for humanity.

This brings one to the question of scientific evidence. What about
Neanderthal or even homo erectus? Scientific evidence seems to constantly
push back the age of supposed human ancestors. Were these beings people?
Were they descendants of Adam and Eve? If so, how far does that push the
creation of mankind back? Is it possible that God took an already
created/evolved creature and put a soul and spirit into these people,
creating Adam and Eve in his own image? To be completely honest, I am a
bit of an agnostic on these questions. I am not sure. I would refer you
to the book mentioned above as a great resource. I accept the story of
Adam and Eve in Genesis principally on the weight of the evidence of the
Bible being the Word of God as a whole. I do not believe we will ever
find a cave with the genuine inscription, “Adam and Eve slept here.” For
this reason, I prefer to not be dogmatic about the age of human beings and
the timing of the Adam and Eve event. I do believe on the solid evidence
of the Bible itself that the events described in Genesis 2 and 3 did
indeed happen.

I am sorry to leave you with a somewhat vague answer, but since I am
not certain, I prefer to be honest about that. By faith, I believe in the
account of Adam and Eve, but I do not know exactly where the story fits in
the history of hominid existence on the earth.

John Oakes PhD

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