How old is the Earth?


#1

Science teaches that the earth is billions of years old.

Many Protestant churches(I know Baptists do) teach that the earth is only 6000 years old based on biblical history only goes back that far.

the other night I was watching EWTN and a guest on the show was a catholic Priest who was some type of scientist, refered to the earth being billions of years old.

So I guess my question(s) are(is) What is the catholic churches teaching on the age of the earth and how do you explain the earth is billions of years old if the bible says the earth was created in 6 days and the bible goes back only 6000 years?


#2

as per theology, truth does not conflict with truth. if science and religion are reporting two different things, there must be a way to reconcile them or one is not true.

simply put… 6 days? several of the days occur before there is even a sun. second, the ancient hebrew word for day also could just as easily mean millenium or age. While the writers of the bible were infallable, the same protection does not hold for those who translate the bible (ie, KJV). So it is entirely possible that the earth was created in six “Ages.”


#3

[quote=ekim61]Science teaches that the earth is billions of years old.

Many Protestant churches(I know Baptists do) teach that the earth is only 6000 years old based on biblical history only goes back that far.

the other night I was watching EWTN and a guest on the show was a catholic Priest who was some type of scientist, refered to the earth being billions of years old.

So I guess my question(s) are(is) What is the catholic churches teaching on the age of the earth and how do you explain the earth is billions of years old if the bible says the earth was created in 6 days and the bible goes back only 6000 years?
[/quote]

Scripture is largely comprised of symbolic structures best referred to as “types” and “word pictures.” Except for day “one,” which does not appear to have symbolic significance in typology, days “two” through “six” have symbolic significance.

On day “two,” the “firmament” was created. The Two Type = “Church.” So, the “firmament” is a picture of the “Church.” The Church is being foreshadowed.

On day “three,” note that “trees” were created. There are really only two kinds of “trees” in Bible typology: The Fig Tree Type, which stands for “the commandments,” “the Old Law,” the “Old Covenant,” or Judaism"; and the Non-Fig Tree Type, which stands for “the cross.” The Three Type = “will of God.” Probably, trees were created on the “will of God” day, because the Fig Tree, representing the “commandments,” was created on that day.

On day “four,” “stars” were created. The Four Type = “everyone.” “Stars” symbolize “God’s people,” a third of which are apparently to be lost to Satan. See Revelation 12:4.

On day “five,” “birds” and “fish” were created. The Five Type = “Christ.” But the Bird Type = “sin,” “the devil,” “demons”; and the Fish Type = “damnable souls” in the Sea of Damnable Souls. How in Heaven’s name do we resolve the number “five” and these animals?

Simple. Paul figured it out. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul refers to Christ as “Him Who did not know sin Who was made to be sin.” By this Paul meant that when Christ died to purchase our salvation, He functionally took the punishment for our sins upon Himself, and so He ended-up being treated as though He were Sin Personified. I.e., He was “made to be sin”! So, in the Bible, we see Christ Himself foreshadowed with SIN SYMBOLS, to foreshadow how He would be treated as though He were SIN PERSONIFIED. So, in Leviticus 14:1-9, we see Christ foreshadowed with a the Bird Sin Type, in the form of a bird which his slaughtered so that its blood can be splattered on a second bird, which is allowed to fly away. In other words, He-Who-did-not-know-sin-Who-was-made-to-be-sin is killed, so that His sacrificial blood can drive away sin, itself. And, in Tobit 6, a great big fish coming out of the Tigris River trying to bite off Tobiah’s dirty feet is Christ doing what He recommended in Matthew 18:8, where He says, “If your foot is your problem, cut it off and throw it away!” Because that big fish is Christ, we see Tobiah foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice by killing it, and we see Tobiah foreshadowing the Eucharist by eating the fish.

So, note well: Birds and Fish are two sin symbols used to symbolize Christ, and so they were created on Day Five – Christ Day.

On Day Six, mankind was created. The Six Type = “evil.”

So, the important aspect of the number of days of creation is NOT to describe how long it took to build creation, but rather to foreshadow aspects of the salvation process – the Church, the Commandments, the people these would be applied to, Christ the Redeemer, and evil mankind.

Re the age of creation, itself, the evidence is overwhelming that it is billions of years old: The elements within the Sun’s spectograph indicate that the hydrogen is about half consumed = billions of years old. Radioactive elements in the bedrock of the Earth break down into identifiable non-radioactive elements at a predictable rate. The comparison of the still radioactive elements and the non-radioactive by-products implies that the Earth is billions of years old. Starlight from distant stars needed billions of years to get to where we are today.


#4

how old is the earth?

well, considering i live most of my life as it’s center, i would have to say around 30 years old.


#5

The bible doesn’t say anything about how old the Earth is. It does say that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It doesn’t say how long ago that was.

And it uses a primitive cosmology in describing creation, because that was the cosmology the writers and earliest readers / hearers of the book of Genesis understood.


#6

The Catholic church historically has held to a young earth view. In recent centuries (especially since the 19th century) many Catholics have started to question that. For a young earth Catholic perspective, see Robert Sungenis web site:

www.catholicintl.com

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#7

[quote=trth_skr]The Catholic church historically has held to a young earth view. In recent centuries (especially since the 19th century) many Catholics have started to question that.
[/quote]

That is true… Before Christmass midnight mass in my parish we have a tradition of hearing the fledge(?) chanted. It’s basically the story of creation to the birth of Christ - 5,000 years. It sounds Beautifull…

What is the liklihood that the creation story is topically organized as opposed to a chronological format?

I just don’t see how the span of time be it 6,000 or 6 gazillion years really matters much. Creation is still the creation as God created it whenever He created it. You know it could just be a matter of perspective too… I’m sure God considers creation something He whipped up a lil bit ago.


#8

[quote=ekim61]Science teaches that the earth is billions of years old.

Many Protestant churches(I know Baptists do) teach that the earth is only 6000 years old based on biblical history only goes back that far.

the other night I was watching EWTN and a guest on the show was a catholic Priest who was some type of scientist, refered to the earth being billions of years old.

So I guess my question(s) are(is) What is the catholic churches teaching on the age of the earth and how do you explain the earth is billions of years old if the bible says the earth was created in 6 days and the bible goes back only 6000 years?
[/quote]

The Church doesn’t have a teaching on how old the earth is. The Bible doesn’t say either.

The issue is not a matter of faith or morals, nor does the issue have significance to a matter of faith or morals and is merely a matter of scientific debate.

It’s like asking, “What’s the Church’s teaching on the mass of a quark?”. You’re free to believe what you want in such a matter.


#9

The Bible is an interesting book in that it contains in one literary form or another the infallible truths we need for our salvation. Everything else is basically filler which depends on the times, skills, and knowledge of the very human writers. It is obvious that there were times in the past when even the Church was not prevented from teaching and believing history, scientific fact, and mankinds assumptions about what God might be saying about their ways of waging war, etc. We have to look at some things in the Old Testament in the light of what God has revealed through His own Son in the new and it becomes obvious again that there were moral conclusions that were wishful thinking on the part of the Jews. There is certainly abundant evidence today that violating Jesus’ teaching may not only cause one to lose eternal life but also creates a hell on earth for many people.


#10

[quote=rwoehmke]The Bible is an interesting book in that it contains in one literary form or another the infallible truths we need for our salvation. Everything else is basically filler which depends on the times, skills, and knowledge of the very human writers.
[/quote]

I do not know if there is any “filler” in the Bible. A better way to state this is that Scripture can only be authentically interpreted by the Church. The Church can determeine the meaning of various passages. For instance, there are entries in the Bible which could be interpreted as leading to a flat earth. The Church has not interpreted Scripture that way (in fact most Fathers held a spherical earth), therefor one is not oligated to assent to flat earth teaching.

[quote=rwoehmke] It is obvious that there were times in the past when even the Church was not prevented from teaching and believing history, scientific fact, and mankinds assumptions about what God might be saying about their ways of waging war, etc. .
[/quote]

I do not believe that the Church is “limited” to interpreting Scripture in certain clasifications only (i.e., faith and morals). For instance, who determines what constitutes “faith and morals” as opposed to “science”?

As an example, the Church has interpreted Scripture to say that homosexuality is an abomination. A modernist Bible exegete could come along and say, “ah, but now science has proven that homosexuality is genetically caused, and not the fault of the individual. Now since this is science, the Church no longer has authority to interpret these Scriptural passages”.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#11

It does matter if the Church has spoken authoritatively on the subject. I am not as familiar with the evolution issue (see the Sungenis link above), but in the case of geocentrism, the Church has spoken authoritatively in favor of geocentrism. Geocentrism (believe it or not) has not been disproven to this day. To put it more precisely, no one has proven that the earth rotates and / or translates through space. If the Holy Spirit did in fact lead the fathers to interpret the Scriptures geocentrically, and the three Popes (condeming Corpenicus’ writings and Galileo) were led by the Holy Spirit, it is going to be hard for the Church to reverse its position on geocentrism (it has not to date). It would be foolish of the Church to do so, when in fact the opposing theories (i.e., heliocentrism, acentrism) are not proven, nor is geocentrism disproven.

Mark
www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com


#12

In human years, about 4.5 billion. In God years, seven days plus modern man’s existance.

As one of the psalm’s says “a day to God is like a thousand years to man.”


#13

[quote=qmvsimp]In human years, about 4.5 billion. In God years, seven days plus modern man’s existance.

As one of the psalm’s says “a day to God is like a thousand years to man.”
[/quote]

True!
I would consider this a trivia type of question which does not have a consequence whether you will be in Heaven with our Lord or in Hell without Him.

Can’t we just wait until we can find out for ourselves? I can wait till then.

Besides, there’ll be a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth’ so what will it matter anyway!


#14

How we know the earth is old

How we know those billion year old dates are reliable

How we learned the earth was very old well before Darwin
(hint: from Christian geologists who interpreted Genesis literally for the most part, and listened carefully to the scientific evidence then becoming uncovered)

Many of the early Fathers did interpret the “six days” according to the science of their day, but the modern Catechism says:

  1. God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity, and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work,” concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value, and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.” [Vatican II LG 36] (see also paragraphs 339, 342, 345 which refer to the “six days”)

  2. Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun. [footnote refers to St. Augustine, De Genesi adv Man 1, 2, 4: PL 34, 175]

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma:

“As the Sacred Writer had not the intention of representing with scientific accuracy the intrinsic constitution of things, and the sequence of the works of creation but of communicating knowledge in a popular way suitable to the idiom and to the pre-scientific development of his time, the account is not to be regarded or measured as if it were couched in language which is strictly scientific…The Biblical account of the duration and order of Creation is merely a literary clothing of the religious truth that the whole world was called into existence by the creative word of God. The Sacred Writer utilized for this purpose the pre-scientific picture of the world existing at the time. The numeral six of the days of Creation is to be understood as an anthropomorphism. God’s work of creation represented in schematic form (opus distinctionis – opus ornatus) by the picture of a human working week, the termination of the work by the picture of the Sabbath rest. The purpose of this literary device is to manifest Divine approval of the working week and the Sabbath rest.” (Ott, page 93, cf. Exod 20:8)

Phil P


#15

This question just came up tonight on Catholic Answers Live (7/12).
Tim Staples stated that it is not reliable to read the creation of Genesis in a ‘literal’ sense.
I don’t remember all he said, but make sure to listen to the program either in the rebroadcast OR in the archives.


#16

[quote=trth_skr] … Geocentrism (believe it or not)
[/quote]

I don’t :wink:

[quote=trth_skr] has not been disproven to this day. To put it more precisely, no one has proven that the earth rotates and / or translates through space…
[/quote]

We’ve had this conversation before

[quote=trth_skr]… It would be foolish of the Church to do so, when in fact the opposing theories (i.e., heliocentrism, acentrism) are not proven, nor is geocentrism disproven…
[/quote]

It would be foolish for the Church to insert itself into a debate which is frankly not really in its area of competence. We learned our lesson after that Galileo incident


#17

This could be answered a few different ways:

  1. If taken as 6000 years, then, “really old”.

  2. If taken as billions of years, then, “really really old”.

  3. If compared to eternity (therfore very brief) then, “not very old”.

Pray the daily rosary for conversions!


#18

Bible Reader,

Excelent information and very informative, where have you learned the bible code from, can you suggest any websites or books?


#19

PhilVaz is spot on, He said what I was going to say. The problem with Galileo is not so much the Church’s opposition to what he taught, there is some to that, but how he went about presenting the heliocentric theory. He was actually friends with Pope Urban VIII at the time, but when he presented his case he did so very poorly and made several attacks on the Church and humiliated the Pope, and certain cardinals. He was also on friendly terms with Robert Cardinal Bellarmine who urged him to be cautious and not present it as fact when in fact it was still only a theory. Additionally, several of the Cardinals on his tribunal abstained from voting at all among them Bellarmine.

Another point to note is that the theory of heliocentricism was not Galileo’s, rather the theory originated from a monk named Capernicus. He was never condemned. In fact the future Pope Paul III asked him to publish his theory. Another interesting point is that heliocentricism is not even what the scientific community has settled on these days. The universe does not revolve around the sun any more than the sun revolves around the earth. In the eyes of science today, both theories were in fact quiet wrong.

A lot of people believe that Church declared a lot of things in the Galilean controversy when in fact it did not. Rather than believing the Church has said something, based on what other people who don’t really know and have never read the accounts of his trial, go and find the actually accounts or find someone who has read the accounts and there will be a lot less errors cirrculating around.


#20

This is another problem with protestants using the only bible method. Yes the bible itself and its historical roots only dates back to 6000 years ago and we are in the last 1000 years now. But then these bible alone preachers have to make claims that are unbiblical.

And when science agrees with them they use it to support their claims and when science disagrees with them they deny the facts and quote the bible.

I know for a fact that the earth is billions of years old, because that fossil in my back yard is several 100 thousand years old.

As a former Baptist I had the honor of sitting through a creation seminar by Dr. Dino himself. He was pretty entertaining and shortly after I left the baptist church and started my RCIA process.


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