Do evangelicals really believe that humans are only 6000 years old?

One of the things that surprises me is the idea that with all we know about science that many evangelicals reject the idea that men have been around longer than 6000 years. It seems that anyone with a middle school education is aware that human beings came into existence tens of thousands of years ago and evolved from lower life forms.

Yes, many do. I think the latest Gallup poll determined that 46% of Americans believed in young-Earth creationism. But this is not just limited to evangelicals. 31% of Catholics reported believing in creationism, as well, despite the fact that this is not Church teaching.

Can you post the official Catholic Church teaching?

I think the problem is the conflation of the fact of evolution (that species have changed over time, and that all species come from a common ancestor) with the theory of evolution (all these changes to species over time, all the creative and wondrous innovations and instincts were created through blind, unconscious processes such as random mutations and differential reproductive success).

The first “evolution” is undoubtedly true. The second is “not even wrong” to use Wolfgang Pauli’s turn of phrase.

And it is primarily scientists who are responsible for conflating the two meanings of the word “evolution” - because of their desire to remove the need for God from the world.

Those statics make me want to cry

Interesting factoid: Population statistics support Biblical chronology

FWIW: I believe that materialist evolution is absurd; that there is insufficient evidence for Deistic evolution; and that God probably created the world whichever way He wanted and we may never know how until we meet Him in person.

A friend of mine’s son came home with an assignment (6th grader). The task was to create an animal which had adapted to its environment _underground, cave dwelling, swamp, etc.).

The boy’s father called the school to berate the teacher about forcing evolution as a fact on his children. In later discussion with me, he came out with the 6000 year idea that I’d never heard before and I had to use all of my manners to control my facial expressions.

He really believed it and after hearing his rant on the phone, I didn’t dare challenge him!

What does it matter? What are the practical consequences? Catholics are allowed to believe the world is only thousands of years old.


The official Catholic teaching is that God created all things - visible and invisible, and that God creates each human soul at the moment of conception.

We Catholics are free to postulate and conjecture as to how God physically created everything, so long as we accept that He did. One of the many things I love about Catholicism (true Christianity) is the freedom to use the wonderful minds that God gave us. When I was a boy, my mother (a baptist who converted to Catholicism in college) told me nearly every day “Paul, you have a fine mind - you mustn’t waste it”. I’d like to think that I have not wasted it, except for my short foray into Mormonism (sorry Mom).

So far as I know, all the popes from Pius X on have all accepted evolution as the mechanism that God used to create human bodies and the Big Bang (postulated by a Jesuit priest) as the mechanism that God used to create the universe.

The recent popes have accepted that when the bible says “And God said ‘Let there be light, and there was light’” that the Lord was describing the big bang.

That being said, the CCC teaches that Adam and Eve were real people and that the biblical story of the garden of Eden and the fall of humanity describes “an actual ontological event”.

Look up the word “ontological”, and have fun.

Oh Lord, thank you for calling me back to the Catholic (universal) faith. I’m so happy!

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic).

Belief in one or the other isn’t the issue. The knowledge of the theory itself may be important to education and career.

I saw a documentary correlating the lack of trust in science (a result of the Scopes Trial) to the USA being second in the Space Race.

I thought, “But we came up with the bomb!” until I remembered that between the trials and the Space Race, the bomb was with the help of European (mostly German) refugee scientists.

Again, the system of (young earth or not) belief isn’t the issue so much as *knowing * the scientific theories and processes.

I’m trying to think of an example, and it’s not panning out. I don’t have to adapt Henry Ford’s values if I want to learn about cars, but it helps to know how he perceived his contribution to the Industrial Revolution. Even then, this example falls short because I’m not talking about his theories.

Perhaps I can say that I don’t agree with Marxism but I understand the concept of utopianism. Just because Lenin was a ruthless leader and has a horrible legacy doesn’t mean that I should avoid learning about Marxism…especially if I have an attraction to political science. Learning about the topic doesn’t influence or conflict with my faith, and I would need to at least be familiar with that topic to further my education or career. The consequences could be further reaching if I could influence policy by using it as an intelligent example in a discussion.

Ok… be gentle with me. :slight_smile:

Lutherans are officially “young-earth” - if God reveals it to us, then we are to believe it.

The trouble is that I’m a scientist.

So here’s how I reconcile the two viewpoints: What God has revealed is from His perspective. For example one day of His creation could take millions of our years. Or that God gave some of His evolved primitive monkeys a special soul that is in His image.

So rather than discount what God has told me, I need to expand my creativity in making a sensible and rational fit.

Another realization is that this world we experience with our own limited minds is the impostor world - the world “under the sun.”

It’s God’s world, that he reveals to us, that will endure.

I am not an evangelical and I do not believe the Earth is as old as many think nor as young as many think.

I believe that recorded history goes back to around 4,500 BC, with the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia. Anthropology, of course, goes back much farther. But what science describes as homo sapiens from anthropological evidence, not writing, is not necessarily the same creatures that religion defines as rational animals—composed of body and soul.

That, of course, has nothing to do with the age of the earth, which is billions of years old.

Look up “time dilation”. That may answer your questions about bible-6-days vs. science.

It’s all true. We poor humans just need to catch up intellectually.


JamesCollins;11725523] One of the things that surprises me is the idea that with all we know about science that many evangelicals reject the idea that men have been around longer than 6000 years. It seems that anyone with a middle school education is aware that human beings came into existence tens of thousands of years ago and evolved from lower life forms.

Hello James Collins. What an interesting point of view. It is of course a highly debatable subject - CREATION. But it may be against Forum rules to discuss the alternative - EVOLUTION.

However, our Australian aborigines hold the view that their race has been on Earth for at least 40,000 years, so maybe if we just ignore the fact that you assert that we evolved from a blob of jelly, and concentrate on the “6000 years” we may be able to have a meaningful debate. And who knows, maybe I’m wrong about Forum rules anyway.


"The Time Question

“Much less has been defined as to when the universe, life, and man appeared. The Church has infallibly determined that the universe is of finite age—that it has not existed from all eternity—but it has not infallibly defined whether the world was created only a few thousand years ago or whether it was created several billion years ago.”


Archaeologists have discovered cities that are 14,000 years old. Recently in England they discovered human footprints that are 80,000 years old. Previously, scientists thought that any human beings before 50,000 years ago only existed in Africa. The scientific landscape is changing very quickly as new scientific tools are developed and new discoveries are made using those tools.

Fun stuff. None of this changes the truth that God created everything. He is just slowly and gently revealing to us exactly how and when He did it.

Paul (happily Catholic)

Great quote. Thank you, Ed.


Not just Evangelicals - quite a few other forms of fundamentalists also have high adherence to “Young Earth Creationism”…

But also some Muslims are young earthers… I’ve encountered a few. (One was Wahabbist; the other a relatively moderate Malasian Muslim, specific tradition unknown but NOT Wahabbist.)

I have no problem with that. Are these cities whose occupants recorded their history, or were entire cities wholly non-literate?

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