Archbishop James Ussher, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (The One-Two Punch)


The most important thing for a Christian who struggles with evolutionary issues to consider is that God says there was no death before Adam [Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22] but evolution says that death and bloodshed have always existed and have actually led to the development of man. The physical and spiritual death that resulted from Adam’s sin is an essential part of the Gospel that cannot be removed.

Even still, in spite of this this truth (and a face value reading of Genesis 1) many Christians believe in theistic evolution, or the idea that God used evolution to create man.

Is there another way we can resolve this contradiction of beliefs? What if we knew the age of the earth? You see, if there are no long ages, neither can there be human evolution. So, if God wants us to know the truth…

1.  WHY DOESN’T THE BIBLE JUST TELL US THE AGE OF THE EARTH?

Well, it does.

James UssherMeet James Ussher, the man who’s calculations are considered the standard for Young-Earth Creationists (or, as I prefer, those who believe what the Bible actually says).

Ussher (1581-1656) was the Archbishop of Ireland and a scholar of honor. He devoted himself wholly to the defense of the Christian Faith. Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1581, this highly educated, well-traveled historian devoted years to writing the history of the world from creation to AD 70. Originally published in Latin in the 1650s, Ussher’s masterpiece is a literary classic.

Ussher’s accomplishments:

  • One of history’s most famous and well-respected historians
  • As a result of a lifetime of study, Ussher produced his monumental history, The Annals of the World
  • Entered Trinity College at age 13
  • Received his master’s degree at age 18
  • Ordained as a deacon and priest in the Anglican Church at age 20; in 1625, held the high position of Archbishop of Armagh
  • Received his doctor of divinity at age 26
  • Twice appointed vice-chancellor of Trinity College
  • Was an expert in Semitic languages
  • Buried in Westminster Abbey

What date did Ussher arrive at and how did he do it?

Ussher arrived at the date 4004 BC for Creation. He used the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 as well as numerous other, complex calculations. Below is the simple version. You can learn more about his calculations from his book, The Annals of the World.

Ussher used the genealogies in Genesis to arrive at a date for Creation:

From Creation to Abraham's entrance into Canaan

From Abraham's exiting of Haran to the final deportation of the Jews

An objection answered

There are some who object to the reliability of the chapter 5 genealogies in Genesis because they believe it contains gaps that would, therefore, throw off any such calculations. I submit to you there are no gaps in the genealogies in chapter 5 as evidenced by:

  1. —The age of the father given at the time of his son’s birth
  2. —The number of years the father lived after his son’s birth

Here’s an example of the pattern all of the verses follow:

Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. Then Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. [Genesis 5:15-16]

The work of others

It’s important for you to know that others have also undertaken this monumental task. The very fact that Bible scholars would attempt such an endeavor is encouraging testimony to the belief in the reliability of Scripture that we can all have.

Furthermore, although these others have arrived at different dates (ranging from 5501 BC to 3836 BC), they are close to Ussher’s date. In fact, two others have actually arrived at his very same date! They are Edward Greswell and Floyd Jones (who I highlight below). Even though Ussher is at odds with these other dates, consider, the fact that they have arrived at dates near to his and that two others have arrived at the same date is the equivalent of you checking the accuracy of your math on a test or at the bank for confirmation.

The Annals of the World

Ussher’s book is an entirely fascinating read you’ll want to explore again and again. If you’re going to get the book, I would also recommend you get The Chronology of the Old Testament by Dr. Floyd Jones. It’s the standard for Old Testament Chronology (up to the the Resurrection of Christ) and an indispensable companion to Ussher’s book. You can order them both together here for a discount.

2.  DOES SCIENCE SUPPORT USSHER’S CONCLUSION?

Yes, it does.

Scientists associated with the Institute for Creation Research have finished an eight-year research project known as RATE, or Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth.

For over a hundred years, evolutionists have insisted that the earth is billions of years old, and have arrogantly dismissed any views contrary to this belief. However, the team of seven creation scientists have discovered incredible physical evidence that supports what the Bible says about the young age of the earth.

Learn about their discoveries and explore the scientific evidence that supports biblical truth here!

In 1997, a group of young-earth creationists met in San Diego, California, to discuss the age of the earth. Their goal was to clarify the chronology of earth history and search for a fundamental correction to the usual assumptions of deep time. They were skeptical of the evolutionary timescale that dominates modern geology. These scientists reviewed the assumptions and procedures used in estimating the ages of rock strata and they recognized multiple weaknesses.

The group identified itself with the acronym RATE, which stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth. The RATE team included the following scientists and scholars:

Steven A. Austin, Ph.D. Soft rock geologist
John R. Baumgardner, Ph.D. Geophysicist
Steven W. Boyd, Ph.D. Hebrew scholar
Eugene F. Chaffin, Ph.D. Physicist
Donald B. DeYoung, Ph.D. Physicist
D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. Physicist
Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D. Hard rock geologist
Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. Meteorologist, Chairman

The RATE project was sponsored and promoted by three leading creation science organizations. These included the Institute for Creation Research and the Creation Research Society. Answers in Genesis gave startup support to the project. Technical research activity is expensive, and all RATE costs, which amounted to about $2 million, were covered by private donations. Sincere thanks are expressed to the many individuals and organizations that financially supported the RATE effort.

Several research initiatives were identified and conducted over an eight-year period. The main research initiatives and their principle investigators were:

1. Carbon-14 Dating John R. Baumgardner
2. Helium Diffusion in Zircon Crystals D. Russell Humphreys
3. Radiohalos in Granite Andrew A. Snelling
4. Fission Tracks in Zircons Andrew A. Snelling
5. Discordant Radioisotope Dates Steven A. Austin
6. Radioisotope Dating Case Studies Andrew A. Snelling
7. Theories of Accelerated Nuclear Decay Eugene F. Chaffin
8. A Proper Reading of Genesis 1:1–2:3 Steven W. Boyd

The RATE project reported on the following five general conclusions:

1. A large amount of radioactive decay has occurred.
2. Nuclear decay processes were accelerated during episodes in earth history.
3. Conventional radioisotope dates are therefore incorrect by large factors.
4. Creation and the Genesis Flood are genuine historical events.
5. Scripture is scientifically reliable.

A comprehensive treatment of the RATE research is available in three primary publications. The first technical book is titled Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative.1 It fully explains the initial RATE research plans and also includes a comprehensive 90-page glossary of terms. The second technical book has the same main title with the subtitle Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative.2 It gives full details of the final RATE research results with complete documentation. The third is a less technical book titled Thousands…Not Billions.3 It summarizes the RATE research and results with a minimum of technical terms. Several related references, available in many public and college libraries, are listed at the end of the book.

In addition to the primary publications in books, the RATE research was reported at the fall 2003 meeting of the American Geophysical Society in San Francisco, California (pdf files of the actual posters are available in this article4); in the proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creation;5 in two DVDs titled Thousands Not Billions and The Premier RATE Conference; and in numerous short articles in Acts & Facts.6-13

References

  1. Vardiman, L., A. A. Snelling and E. F. Chaffin, eds. 2000. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: A Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research and St. Joseph, MO: Creation Research Society.
  2. Vardiman, L., A. A. Snelling and E. F. Chaffin, eds. 2005. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Research Initiative. El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research and Chino Valley, AZ: Creation Research Society.
  3. DeYoung, D. B. 2005. Thousands Not Billions: Challenging an Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
  4. Vardiman, L. 2004. RATE Posters Well Received at AGU Conference. Presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Conference, San Francisco CA, December 2003.
  5. Vardiman, L. et al. 2003. Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Creationism. Ivey, R., ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship.
  6. Snelling, A. A. 2005. Polonium Radiohalos: The Model for Their Formation Tested and Verified. Acts & Facts. 34 (8).
  7. Snelling, A. A. 2004. Radioisotope Dating of Grand Canyon Rocks: Another Devastating Failure for Long-Age Geology. Acts & Facts. 33 (10).
  8. Humphreys, D. R. 2003. New RATE Data Support a Young World. Acts & Facts. 32 (12).
  9. Baumgardner, J. 2003. Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution’s Long Ages. Acts & Facts. 32 (10).
  10. Snelling, A. A. 2002. Radiohalos—Significant and Exciting Research Results. Acts & Facts. 31 (11).
  11. Humphreys, D. R. 2002. Nuclear Decay: Evidence for A Young World. Acts & Facts. 31 (10).
  12. Snelling, A. A. 1999. Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon Dating of Crustal Rocks and the Problem of Excess Argon. Acts & Facts. 28 (3).
  13. Humphreys, D. R. 2005. Evidence for a Young World. Acts & Facts. 34 (6).

RATE Articles

Polonium Radiohalos: The Model for Their Formation Tested and Verified (#386) by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Radioisotope Dating of Grand Canyon Rocks: Another Devastating Failure for Long-Age Geology (#376) by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

New Rate Data Support a Young World (#366)
by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution’s Long Ages (#364) by John Baumgardner, Ph.D.

Radiohalos – Significant And Exciting Research Results (#353) by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Nuclear Decay: Evidence For A Young World (#352) by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon Dating of Crystal Rocks and the Problem of Excess Argon (#309) by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Evidence for a Young World (#384) by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

RATE Audio

RATE – What Earthly Reason? Download MP3

RATE – Rocks Evolution, Part 1 Download MP3

RATE – Rocks Evolution, Part 2 Download MP3

RATE – Diamonds: A Creationist’s Best Friend Download MP3

RATE – Thousands, Not Billions Download MP3

RATE Resources

Thousands… Not Billions
Understand the findings of the RATE project. Dr. DeYoung authored this non-technical book in order to equip the layperson to defend scientific six-day creation and refute modern dating techniques.
More Information

Thousands… Not Billions – DVD
As a companion to the non-technical book, or by itself, Thousands…Not Billions is the ultimate multimedia resource for any family, student or teacher’s library. Evolution and modern science has questioned the Biblical account of Creation for years, and now compelling new scientific research by ICR challenges modern science and their dating techniques.
More Information

Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume I
The RATE book is a definitive resource on radioactive dating for every scientist’s library, whether evolutionist or creationist. It examines radioisotope theory, exposes its plaguing problems, and offers a better alternative.
More Information
Free downloadFree download [2.8MB PDF]

Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume II
The age of the earth is an important issue in Christianity today. If the 6 day Genesis account is fallacious, then how can the rest of Scripture be relied upon? Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth: Results of a Young-Earth Creationist Research Initiative addresses the issues raised by the first RATE technical book in 2000.
More Information
Free Download

Conclusion

Be encouraged, friends, and share! And, remember… we are to filter scientific claims about origins through the lens of God’s Word, not the other way around. Christians aren’t against science, only bad science. True science supports what the Bible claims.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

[Exodus 20:11]

Categories: Apologetics & Philosophy, Creation, Evolution or Both?Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. I’ve found the website, creation.com, to be very helpful along with the other creationist organizations you’ve listed above.

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