Home > apologetics, Bible Study, Creation, Genesis, Old Testament, Young Earth > Genesis Genealogies and The Age of the Earth

Genesis Genealogies and The Age of the Earth

From Dr. Barrick’s 2013 MacDonald Lectures Creation series, one minor yet somewhat interesting issue from the first Q&A: the age of the Earth and the question of whether there are any gaps in the genealogies.

The question is often referred to as whether or not the Genesis genealogies are “closed” (complete) or “open” (skip generations and have gaps).  The Old Earth view would stretch the supposed “gaps” out to fit hundreds of thousands or more years, which is simply unworkable.

Dr. Barrick holds to and presents the belief that the Old Testament genealogies have gaps, such that the earth could be as much as 8,000, 10,000 or even 25,000 years old.  He cites the writing of Henry Morris, “The Genesis Flood,” for this idea, as well as the mention of the genealogy gaps in 1 Chronicles, and the gaps in Aaron and Moses’ ancestry. (For further reading on this point, see “Hard Sayings of the Bible,” edited by Walter Kaiser and F.F. Bruce, which addresses this point.  Click here to view pages 140-142 in Google Books.)  He further notes extra-biblical “evidence,” the uncertainty of certain ancient civilizations, that even secular scientists argue among themselves:  low chronology, middle chronology and high chronology for China, Egypt, and even for Sumeria.

I too heard that idea of “gaps” and thus the earth could be as much as 8,000 or 10,000 years old, when I first studied Creation Science years ago, from reading The Genesis Flood and similar material.  But as pointed out in this article at ICR.org, the Genesis genealogy from Adam to Abraham does not have such gaps, and the other genealogies are not relevant to the question.  We are told the age (to the nearest year) of each individual, from Adam’s age when Seth was born, on down to Abraham.  The only “gap” is in the partial years, that each individual had reached a certain birthday plus some number of months, but less than the next full year.  So the genealogies do not allow for a “gap” of a few thousand years, but only of 37 years.

Some people assume that the historical events related in the early chapters of Genesis cannot be precisely dated because we cannot be certain whether the genealogical lists are complete (“closed”) or whether they skip generations and have gaps (and are thus “open”). The issue is irrelevant because the timeframes given in Genesis are measured by the number of years between one event and another event, regardless of how many generations occurred between those “bookend” events.

As Barrick said, even if there were gaps we are still talking about a young earth, not millions and billions of years as some old-earth advocates would try to stretch the “gaps” to fit.  But the Genesis genealogy doesn’t have such gaps, so we can know that the earth is approximately 6000 years old (with a variance of possibly 37 years from Adam to Abraham), not 8,000 or 10,000 years old.

  1. June 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I’m fascinated by the age of the earth discussion.

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