The Creation Explanation
|The Age of the Earth|
Time and Evolution
The origin of the world and the appearance and subsequent evolutionary development of life by entirely random chemical and physical processes is surely extremely improbable and cannot be made to seem at all plausible unless a vast span of time was available for it to happen. Charles Darwin admitted this in the closing chapter of his Origin of Species: "The belief that species were immutable productions was almost unavoidable as long as the history of the world was thought to be of short duration..."1 It is clear that he realized as do we that the significance of time in framing theories of earth and life origins is crucial for his theory.
Creation by a sovereign and omnipotent God could have occurred at any time in pre-recorded history, so the creation model could be true regardless of the age of the earth and universe. If, on the other hand, the earth is billions of years old, it becomes easier to assume that the exceedingly unlikely spontaneous developments of the grand evolutionary scenario might have occurred. Time--vast ages of time--becomes in a sense the essential creative agent. In the words of biologist George Wald, "Time is in fact the hero of the plot."2
This explains why Charles Lyell's uniformitarian geology, postulating great ages for the formation of all earth features at presently observed rates of earth activities, was so quickly espoused in scientific and academic circles during the 19th century. The great-age chronologies are part of a two-pronged attack upon the creationist view of the world, attempting to discredit any conception of a Creator and to substitute the evolutionary hypothesis in its place.
1. Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species (J.M. Dent and Sons, London, 1971), p. 455.
2. Wald, George, in The Physics and Chemistry of Life (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1955), p. 12.