How Old Are Those Hills? -- By: Austin Robbins
BSP 11:3 (Summer 1998) p. 59
How Old Are Those Hills?
We’ve often heard or used the common expression, “old as the hills.” Just how old are those hills? Or, to put it more in perspective, how old is the earth, and by extension, the sun, moon and stars?
Standard evolutionary theory says one thing and the Bible indicates quite another. Which is more accurate? Of course, no one can state with complete assurance an exact date for the origin of the earth, let alone the universe. But, in general terms, certain dates can be ascertained.
Before we try to estimate the age of those hills, however, it is necessary to clarify that the age of the earth is not terribly important to the evolution/creation controversy. Timing does not impact directly on it. Evolution does demand great spans of time, but Creation could have occurred recently or long ago. By contrast, timing is of great importance to Biblical accuracy. While the Bible does not give specific dates of events between Creation and the call of Abraham, it does indicate in a general way the chronologic implications of historic sequences.
Archaeologists, studying artifacts and written records, have been able to establish with a degree of accuracy dates of the earliest civilizations. The dates of those ancient cultures agree in general with the timeline inferred by the Bible (Livingston 1993). The outside limit of civilization’s antiquity is thought to be about 10, 000 years. It must be understood that the Bible indicates the beginning of civilization as we know it occurred not at creation but at the end of the Flood.
Written records exist for many ancient civilizations. According to Sir Leonard Wooley, the earliest known texts are those of the Sumerians in the southern Mesopotamian Valley. This is the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers near the borders of Iraq and Iran. Dating from about 3500 BC, these records were inscribed on clay tablets in wedge-shaped cuneiform script. This script of pictographs, representing various words or concepts, was used with numerous languages, including Akkadian, Babylonian. Egyptian pictographic script, known as hieroglyphs, dates as early as the First Dynasty, about 3100 BC. The earliest Chinese texts, dated reliably by astronomical references, begin about 2200 BC.
Archaeological study of artifacts unearthed in ancient sites give clues as to how and when the earliest inhabitants lived. Clay pots (usually broken), tools, weapons, farm implements, jewelry,
BSP 11:3 (Summer 1998) p. 60
grains, and other foodstuffs tell a great deal about the people who utilized them. The earliest evidence of agriculture comes from the ancient Near East. One of the earliest sites is Jeric...
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