Bronze-level articleYoung Earth creationism

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The divine comedy


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Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myths, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants.
Richard Dawkins
Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue
Sam Harris [1]

Young Earth creationism (YEC) is the belief that our planet and universe were created, from nothing, in six days, approximately 6,000 years ago, by the God of the Abrahamic religions. Adherents of young Earth creationism are known as "young Earth creationists," or simply YECs.

Their belief is derived from a literal interpretation of the two creation myths in the Biblical book of Genesis.[2] This means young Earth creationists believe the six days described in Genesis were standard 24-hour days and use James Ussher's chronology (or a suitable alternative) to date the Earth's creation to only a few thousand years ago. Answers in Genesis claim science is the work of fallible humans while the Bible is the infallible word of God. This must be true because the Bible says so.[3] Young earth creationists reject the mountains of scientific evidence demonstrating the earth is older than a few thousand years, as well as the various attempts to reconcile the stories in Genesis with science, such as day-age creationism. Many Christians do not hold this view, as they accept much of the science done on this and hold an allegorical view on this.

A firm belief in the biblical worldwide flood and the story of Noah is also a cornerstone of young Earth creationism. The flood is used by proponents of YEC to explain almost all observations that scientists have interpreted as pointing to a significantly older Earth.

Creationists who believe in an Earth with an ageless in conflict with science are called Old Earth creationists, which sometimes includes believers of theistic evolution despite acceptance of evolution (albeit minus the methodological naturalism in the case of the guided evolution branch of theistic evolution).

Young Earth creationism is mostly specific to Christianity and occasionally Judaism. Islamic creationists like Harun Yahya tend to be old Earth creationists.


When was creation?

Are we talking Venusian, Earth, or Uranian days?


Although the book of Genesis does not mention any specific creation date, the 4004 BCE date of creation upheld by young Earth creationists was calculated by the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher,[4] in 1658 and John Lightfoot in 1644.[5][6] These chronologies involve meticulously tracing the lineages recounted in the Bible (including Noah's supposed 900 years) back to known time, and compared Middle Eastern, biblical and Mediterranean sources to come up with the surprisingly exact date of October 23, 4004 BCE. At 9:00 in the morning, EST.

This figure would put the age of the Earth many orders of magnitude less than the scientifically agreed figure based on radiometric dating among other pieces of evidence. Specifically, the actual age of the Earth is about 75 million percent longer than the Biblical age of the Earth. To put this in perspective, those with the YEC worldview believe the world was created after the first domestication of the dog (and possibly the goat), after the first stones were laid at Stonehenge, after people settled in Scotland and more. Evidence against a recent creation is quite simply overwhelming.

In a typical case of moving the goalposts, many modern young-Earth creationists have blurred the date of creation to "under 10,000 years" thus avoiding the nasty problems of a written history just over 7000 years old, and those pesky comments that are "always under 10,000 years old." Being less specific also avoids any problems people have with the actual genealogies in the Bible.[7]

The Omphalos hypothesis

See the main article on this topic: Omphalos hypothesis

Some branches of YEC explain away inconvenient evidence such as dinosaur fossils, ancient rock strata in the Grand Canyon, and light from stars millions of light years away, as red herrings planted by God to test the faith of believers.

This hypothesis, that God created the world, and indeed the universe, deliberately to appear much older than it actually is, was promoted by the Calvinist and naturalist Philip Henry Gosse in his 1857 book Omphalos, giving rise to the Omphalos hypothesis, although there are earlier examples of similar theories.

The Omphalos hypothesis reconciles the Biblical account of creationism with scientific findings which would seem to contradict it, and in fact was probably created with this intention in mind. However, it doesn't fare well against Occam's razor, since it presents a more elaborate explanation for scientific evidence than we would get from interpreting evidence at face value. It is also unfalsifiable and resembles Last Thursdayism or the idea that we're living in a simulated reality.

The Omphalos hypothesis also suggests a deceitful God and many creationists reject it for this reason.[8]


See the main article on this topic: Creationism#Problems
See the main article on this topic: Evidence against a recent creation

The concept of the Earth being instantaneously formed only 6000 years ago obviously flies in the face of many fields of modern science. The branches of science you have to ignore to believe in young Earth creationism are numerous—containing practically all of known science—but most notably these sciences are biology (the theory of evolution and palaeontology), astronomy (starlight problem), geology (volcanic formation, sedimentation, plate tectonics), archaeology (historic development of ancient civilizations), dendrochronology (tree-ring dating), and physics (radiometric dating).

These scientific fields are backed by centuries of research by the scientific method, are falsifiable and have accumulated vast quantities of supportive evidence.

Young Earth creationists challenge all scientific evidence for an old Earth with the unfalsifiable belief that God simply created Earth with all the evidence of an old Earth already in place.

Also, the Bible does not explicitly say the world was created in 6,000 years, so they are misquoting the Bible which they claim to be following.


See the main article on this topic: Creationism#Demographics

Young Earth creationism exists primarily among Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, and is most popular in the USA.

See also

External links

YEC Resources:

Refutation resources:


  2. Genesis, King James Bible version. There are references to other creation myths elsewhere in the Bible, as in the Psalms and Book of Job, but those are mostly ignored by creationists.
  3. Don’t call us young-earth creationists
  4. James Ussher's Date of the Creation, Ohio Sate University
  5. Bishop Ussher Dates the World: 4004 BC, Lock Haven University]
  6. It should be mentioned in Ussher's defense that his methodology was probably as sound as possible given his time and premises.
  7. Dr. Russell Humphreys (June 1, 2005). "Evidence for a Young World". 
  8. Romans 1:20 contradicts this hypothesis. Romans 1:20 says "... being understood from what has been made..." we can't really understand this world if the Omphalos hypotheses was correct.
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