Bishop Ussher’s Chronology has stood as the standard creationist version of the age of planet Earth. It has been widely accepted, despite equally widespread acknowledgement that it is insufficient as an exact representation of the duration of the planet as measured by patriarchal genealogies and historical eras. Theologians have largely been satisfied with it as an approximate tool. The chronology has the Earth at an approximate 6,000 years old; rather young, considering suggestions to the contrary. There is good reason to hold to a young Earth viewpoint, as we discuss below.
Bishop Ussher’s Biblical Chronology
Bishop James Ussher was an Anglican Bishop who, in 1650, published a history of the world based on the genealogies of patriarchal figures and historical events and periods in the Old Testament. His chronology, published in Annals of the World is solely Bible based, and can be taken as sound theological evidence for a young earth. Many suggest that the genealogies particularly in Genesis are not strictly father-begets-son relationships by ancestor-begets-descendant relationships. Even so, the Earth by this chronology remains young, well within the 6000 years put forth by a traditional reading.
A Purposeful Creation
Theologically speaking, creation is seen as an expression of the character of God. He is loving, and so created the Earth to populate it with people; intelligent beings He could relate with in terms of reciprocal love (1 John 4:8, Exodus 25:8, 21:3). As part of this plan, the Earth was purposed to be the temporal dominion of human beings (Psalm 8:6). It would not make sense, then, for God to have created the Earth and left it unpopulated for billions of years, as though the creation of life were an afterthought, or the spontaneous idea of one boring Sunday in the uninhabited universe.
Fractureless Geological Strata
One scientific evidence of a young Earth will be found in the observation that the geological column reveals rock layers that are folded rather than fractured. The expected outcome of slow, uniform sedimentation and hardening is that subsequent layers will pressurize previous ones, leading to tension in the hard rock layers that should produce fractures. However, this is not observed. Indeed, even in areas where the geological column is bent, we observe this consistent unfractured form. A good alternative explanation is that the layers formed instantly when they were all still soft. Rapid sedimentation of an earth-water suspension due to a massive flood can adequately account for the observation.
The base granites of the Earth contain imprints of radioactive elements. If the uniformitarian principle was true and the granites formed through a process of slow cooling from molten state over millions of years, then this should not be. Many radioisotopes would not last long enough in their respective decay chains to be imprinted when the rocks finally hardened.
A plausible explanation is that these isotopes were imprinted as a result of instantaneous hardening, meaning they would not have had the time to decay into their respective next stages. Examples are the polonium radio-halos discovered by scientist Robert Gentry. Another case in point is the helium residue of the decomposition of uranium and thorium in the base rocks of the earth. Helium is the second lightest element, and will have needed no more than 100, 000 years to have fully leaked out of the geological column. This is further evidence that the earth must be or quite recent origin.
These are only four instances in support of a young Earth. The discussion on the subject has yielded an abundance of evidence on both the scientific and biblical sides, and had made the defense of an ages-old Earth a more challenging feat today than when it was first proposed. Young Earth Creationists need only treat the science fairly, for often a strong argument has been undermined by unnecessary dogmatism and closed-mindedness.