Creation with the Appearance of Age
by John D. Morris, Ph.D. *
Some Christian old-earth advocates hold that if God created fully functioning organisms and physical systems, then He lied to us. They would have looked deceptively mature when they had in fact just appeared. This, they feel, is ample reason to deny creation and a literal interpretation of Scripture, for God cannot lie.
But how else could He have done it? Would they prefer God to have created Adam as a newborn baby, or an embryo? Even an embryo would appear to have had ancestors, therefore would have an “appearance of age.” Indeed, creation with no apparent history is impossible.
When Adam was created, he no doubt looked like a mature adult, fully able to walk, talk, and care for the garden. When God created fruit trees, they were already bearing fruit. In each case, what He created was functionally complete right from the start. Stars, created on Day Four, had to be seen on Day Six in order to be useful in telling time; therefore, their light had to be visible on earth. God’s evaluation that the completed creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31) necessitated that it be functionally complete, operating in harmony, with each part fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.
If a hypothetical observer from a different universe, with no knowledge of Adam’s creation, traveled to earth on Day Seven and tried to determine Adam’s age (or the age of a rock, or the age of a star), how could it be done? He would rely on today’s human growth rates (or rates of radioactive decay, or the speed of light), calculate how long it would take for this state of maturity to develop, and come to a wrong conclusion.
This is because the world today is not as it was at creation. God’s creative powers are at rest now and He is maintaining the creation using the present laws of nature. The original created world, perfect and non-decaying at first, was subsequently cursed and made subject to decay and death (Genesis 3:17; Romans 8:20). Furthermore, even that world was destroyed by the Flood of Noah’s day, so that the world we observe is a relic of destructive processes, not creative processes. Any effort to apply present processes and process rates to creation will not succeed.
It is rightly claimed by old-universe advocates that Romans 1:20 reveals truth about creation and God’s character must be “clearly seen” from the study of the creation. Any scientist, using valid theory and careful analysis, must be able to determine the age and origin of any object, they say. Since secular scientists have concluded the universe began with a Big Bang, that must be the way it happened. God could not have created with the appearance of a Big Bang if He didn’t use that method, they say, so that must be the way He did it.
But this position denies the clear scriptural teachings regarding creation, the Fall, and the Flood. Furthermore, it denies the very possibility of creation, for creation without the appearance of “age” is impossible.
God, in His sovereignty, knew that fallen man, living in the post-Flood world, might wrongly conclude the age and origin of things. For just that reason, He gave us a clear record of what He had done and when He had done it. Furthermore, when we look at the evidence in light of what He has told us, the universe doesn’t even look old. The real evidence is fully compatible with an origin only thousands of years ago.
On the other hand, if fallen scientists extrapolating present process are right and the universe is old, then God has lied to us, for He clearly said He created all things in six days, not too long ago.
* Dr. Morris is President of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris, J. 2010. Creation with the Appearance of Age. Acts & Facts. 39 (12): 15.