An excerpt from Let There Be Light
[The following is a continuation of the article in the TBC August 2014 issue by Jay Seegert of the Creation Education Center. Jay now takes a closer look at the various scientific methods of observation regarding the age of the earth.]
Earth’s Magnetic Field
The earth is like a giant magnet, and scientists have been measuring its strength for more than 170 years. From these measurements, they have determined that the earth’s magnetic field has a half-life of about 1,400 years. This simply means that every 1,400 years, it loses half of its strength. The most interesting aspect of this phenomenon is not related to the future of the field but its past. About 1,400 years ago, the magnetic field would have been twice as strong as it is today. Going back another 1,400 years (c. 800 B.C.) it would be four times as strong. A greatly increased magnetic field means a greatly heated core in the earth (due to frictional effects of electrical currents within the core). So how far back could we possibly go? ...A plausible limit is about 10,000 years. Much beyond that, and the earth’s structure would not be able to withstand the heat. So could the earth actually be billions of years old? Not according to its magnetic field. (Note: some have attempted to counter this by reference to “magnetic reversals.” However, the actual evidence shows that these reversals happened relatively quickly—related to the flood—and are in no way a valid counter-argument.)
At currently measured rates, it would take billions of years for Uranium 238 (238U) to completely decay into its final daughter element, Lead 206 (206Pb). As mentioned in part 1 of this series, the implied assumption is that the rate of decay has been constant (equal to the current rate) throughout the entire history of the earth....However, there is compelling scientific evidence to reject this assumption.
Unlike Uranium, the element Polonium (produced during the decay of Uranium) decays very rapidly. Uranium decay produces three isotopes (versions) of Polonium: 218Po, 214Po and 210Po. These three elements have half-lives of just 3.1 minutes, 164 micro-seconds, and 138 days, respectively. This means that these elements decay very quickly, not over millions or billions of years, but in days, minutes, or fractions of a second!
Why does any of this matter? Scientists have discovered numerous examples of Polonium “halos” within granite rocks. When Polonium decays, the radioactivity damages the surrounding structure (biotite—a mica mineral) and leaves a spherical pattern. The general term for these patterns is “radiohalos,” short for “radioactive halos.” Polonium halos are radiohalos specifically formed by Polonium decay. So where is this all leading? The radiohalos can only form in hardened rock, but Polonium decays very quickly. If it truly took millions or billions of years for the Uranium to decay and millions of years for the rocks to cool, the Polonium halos would not form. The rocks must have formed and cooled in much less time.
The existence of Polonium halos indicates that 100 million years of Uranium decay were necessary to produce enough Polonium to create these halos. However, since Polonium decays so quickly, it shouldn’t have left any record in the rocks (which supposedly were still in the process of cooling for millions of years). But the halos are there! This is evidence of accelerated radioactive decay rates. It appears that 100 million years of decay took place in a number of days! This would account for the appearance of the halos and would also indicate that Uranium decay was accelerated approximately 1 billion times the current rate—evidence of a young earth and against the assumption of constant decay rates.
Polystrate fossils are fossils (usually trees) that extend through multiple layers of rock that were supposedly deposited over multiplied thousands or millions of years....If those layers were truly laid down over such a long period of time, the trees would have rotted long before ever getting completely buried and thus would never turn into a fossil! It’s interesting that when we find these trees (and there are many of them), we generally don’t find the root systems intact, meaning that these trees were not growing there; they were catastrophically uprooted from their original location and rapidly deposited.
Helium Abundance in Minerals
When uranium (U238) decays into lead (Pb206), it goes through a series of “steps” during the process. It releases helium (He) 8 different times. This helium is “slippery” and easily escapes from the rock in which the uranium exists, out into the atmosphere. If the rocks are millions or billions of years old, we would not expect to find much helium within because it would have escaped long ago. Conversely, we should find quite a bit of helium in the atmosphere, since most helium atoms cannot reach the necessary velocity to escape the earth’s gravitational pull. In reality, we find much more helium in the rocks than should be expected and not much at all in the atmosphere! Recent research on this (by the RATE Group from the Institute for Creation Research) has shown that not only does this limit the age of the rocks and atmosphere to a number of thousands of years, but it also shows evidence of accelerated radiometric decay—billions of years worth within a very short burst of time (or a few bursts of time—similar to the previous “radio halo” example). [See www.icr.org/rate]
Millions of Years to Form?
We all know that it takes millions of years to form oil… And the same goes for coal… And diamonds—millions of years…right? WRONG!
Oil supposedly formed over millions of years from the breakdown of organic material buried within the earth. However, scientists today are able to produce oil in a matter of minutes in the laboratory (Discover, May 2, 2003). It takes the right materials and conditions—not the magic of millions of years. The main ingredients are organic material, pressure, heat, and water. This is exactly what the flood would have provided! Lots of water burying tons of organic material, forming huge layers of sediment, creating tremendous pressure, which in turn created great amounts of heat.
More recent studies have indicated that oil may even be forming today by non-biotic (abiotic) methods. According to WorldNetDaily.com (2/1/08) “hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock.”
The same goes for coal. Argonne National Laboratories has proven that coal can be formed under natural conditions in a matter of weeks. Some laboratories have even produced it within hours under special conditions. (http://www.creationworldview.org/articles_view.asp?id=51—last accessed 1/25/09)
Scientists have also been able to create diamonds that are indistinguishable from natural diamonds, using carbon dioxide, metallic sodium, high pressure, and a temperature of 440ºC, in just 12 hours!
Carbon-14 (C14) dating is a method that is used to measure the age of things that were once living (fossil bones, remains of skin, etc.). C14 is a radioactive (unstable) form of Carbon. It slowly decays back into Nitrogen-14 (where it originally came from). Scientists measure the amount of C14 in a specimen to determine how old it is (or more specifically, how long ago it died). Space doesn’t permit a detailed explanation of how this method works, but I want to expose a few myths that most of us have grown up believing. (For more information, see our booklet entitled What Exactly is Carbon-14 Dating?)
Dinosaurs supposedly became extinct 65 million years ago. If that were the case, their bones should have no evidence of C14, because all measurable amounts would have decayed away in less than 100,000 years. As a surprise to evolutionists, scientists have found C14 in some dinosaur bones, indicating that they have not been around for millions of years. (For more information on dinosaurs, see Dinosaurs—Where Do They Fit in the Bible?)
With coal supposedly being millions of years old, you wouldn’t expect to find any amount of Carbon-14 remaining, but surprisingly, no coal sample has ever been found to be completely void of C14.
Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man and are extremely impervious to contamination. Allegedly millions to billions of years old, they also should not contain any C14, but recent studies have shown that they do, dispelling the idea of vast ages.
Decay of Biological Material
Biological material is certainly not as resilient as geologic material, such as granite, and is especially susceptible to decay. In spite of the fact that researchers say that DNA cannot survive in its natural environment for more than 10,000 years, we have discovered it in places where it “ought not be”! One example is in insects that were imbedded in amber. Another was in some dinosaur bones. (They’ve even found dinosaur bones with blood cells and soft tissue, un-decomposed! But dinosaurs are supposed to be at least 65 million years old!) Lastly, they have evidently revived bacteria (supposedly 250 million years old) with completely undamaged DNA [Nature 407:897-900 (19 October 2000)]. This is a huge conundrum for evolutionists but fits very comfortably with a young earth.
Have you ever tried folding rocks?…I haven’t either. It’s interesting to note, however, that there are a number of places on earth where we see great “folds” in solid rock. How did this occur? Experiments have shown that if there is enough pressure and heat, rocks can fold to some extent. In these cases, the rocks show evidence of having experienced great amounts of heat. However, there are many instances where the rocks show no evidence of great heat and also yield evidence that the rocks were in a “soft and plastic” state when they were folded (not having had enough time to harden). This fits perfectly with a global flood, depositing the layers rapidly that were then uplifted and deformed by subsequent tectonic movements, all before they had time to harden.
We are inundated with stories of millions and billions of years from the media and scientific community, but the empirical evidence is significantly lacking. Numerous scientific indicators show that the earth cannot possibly be billions of years old, as the evolutionary model indicates, and those who won’t question the validity of this model will generally not even consider any evidence that would counter the idea of eons of time.
From a biblical perspective, the case for millions of years is not supported by the text. Furthermore, importing millions of years into Scripture causes several serious exegetical and theological problems….
Our eternal destiny is not dependent upon our belief regarding the age of the earth, but a careful and reverential study of the Bible warrants against being too quick to adopt the conventional secular thoughts in geology and astronomy, especially when they appear to oppose the straightforward reading of God’s Word. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Rom:3:4)
Perspective: The Gospel Message
As interesting or important as the subject of the age of the earth might be, there is something infinitely more significant, and it relates to your eternal destiny.
I think it’s safe to say that when your life is over and you find yourself standing (more likely kneeling) before God, He won’t be asking your opinion on the age of the earth or quizzing you about radiometric dating! At that point, there will only be one subject on the table and I wish to close with this brief thought.
The Bible clearly teaches the following:
God created everything, including mankind. (Col:1:16; Gn 1:27, Jn:1:3)
Man rebelled against God and was consequently spiritually separated from Him. This sin brought a curse, including death, to all of God’s creation. (Rom:5:12)
God’s standard is 100 percent holiness because He is 100 percent holy. However, we cannot be “good enough” to obtain this standard, no matter how hard we try. 1 Pt 1:16; Rom:3:20; Ja 2:10, Isa:64:6
The penalty for sin is death, but God has paid the price for those who fully trust in Christ. (Rom:6:23; Jn:3:16; Rom:5:8)
Contrary to popular belief, there are not “many ways” to God. (Jn:14:6, Acts:4:12)
Restoring your relationship with God comes not from “head knowledge” or acknowledging the historical existence of Jesus but as a result of repenting of your sins and placing your faith completely in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (as payment for your sins)....Here’s the personal challenge…before the day is over, ask yourself this question:
If I were to die tonight and find myself standing before God, and He asked “Why should I let you into heaven?” what would my response be?
Is there any rational reason that today you would not confess your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and assurance of your eternal salvation?
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”—2 Cor:6:2
Don’t put it off another day…
“And I’ll say to myself, ‘...Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.’” —Lk 12:19-21
You may be sensing that you don’t know for sure what would happen to you if you were to die today and that you truly need to commit your life to Christ, but you aren’t quite sure “how” to do it. It’s not by saying some magical phrase and doing something highly mystical but simply by honestly and sincerely saying something like following:
Dear God, I know that you created me and that I have not lived according to your standards. Your word tells me that “trying to be good enough” does not earn your favor. Because of your great love for me, you sent your Son (Jesus) to die on a cross to pay the penalty for my own sins so that I don’t have to spend eternity separated from you in judgment. I am asking today for you to forgive my sins and am accepting the free gift of eternal life that you are offering to me through your son Jesus Christ. I want to live my life in a way that is honoring and pleasing to you. When I do sin in the future, help me to confess those sins and thank you for the fact that they too are also forgiven in Jesus. Amen!
If you sincerely pray a prayer similar to the one above, you can have peace, knowing where you will spend eternity! It doesn’t mean that everything else in your life will be easy, but that you can have confidence in your own eternal destiny (and you now have a new-found relationship with the Creator of the universe, who cares for you!). Isn’t that just a bit more exciting than learning about the age of the earth? (Jn:5:24; Jn:10:28-29; 1 Pt 5:7; Phil:4:13)