Young-earth concepts precede the old-earth concept

This from John Millam:

In fact, modern young-earth creationism really began in the twentieth century and so is, ironically, newer than old-earth creationism, which appeared near the end of the seventeenth century.

But that was a bad grasp of history. Even Wikipedia knows better:

According to the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, regarding the so-called Era of the Creation of the World, Alphonse Des Vignoles asserted in the preface to his Chronologie de l’Histoire Sainte (Chronology of Sacred History, Berlin 1738), that he collected upwards of two-hundred different calculations, the shortest of which reckons only 3483 years between the creation of the world and the commencement of the vulgar era and the longest 6984.


The Fathers were well aware of the discrepancy of some hundreds of years between the Greek and Hebrew Old Testament chronology, and it did not bother them; they did not quibble over years or worry that the standard calendar was precise “to the very year”; it is sufficient that what is involved is beyond any doubt a matter of some few thousands of years, involving the lifetimes of specific men, and it can in no way be interpreted as millions of years or whole ages and races of men.

My two cents

Bravo to the second quote, and boo to the first quote!

The first quote’s use of phrases like ‘really began’ and ‘modern young-earth movement’ are a bit shaky as well, especially when the polar opposite (the modern old-earth movement) is dutifully avoided in the same sentence. Are we to suppose that the modern young-earth creation movement is pushing for anything different from the original young-earth movement?

Would the original old-earth movement be older than the old-earth creation movement, but younger than the modern old-earth movement? This getting a bit daft and I’m getting increasingly unconvinced when old-earth creationism ignores church history (or revises it to say the opposite of what it actually said). I thought that was bearing false witness.

Quote sources

  1. Millam, J. (n.d). Coming to Grips with the Early Church Fathers’ Perspective on Genesis. Available: Last accessed 26th Nov 2012.
  2. Wikimedia Foundation. (2012). Byzantine calendar. Available: Last accessed 26th Nov 2012.

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