“Apparent Age” Of The Universe

By Keith Sharp

Professor Neal Buffaloe argued in public discussion that, if the Lord created the universe with “apparent age,” he deceived mankind into thinking the world is older than it actually is. This is an oft-repeated contention of evolutionists, such as Dr. Buffaloe. Is the assertion correct?

Suppose a highly trained engineer from the United States were to travel to a distant Pacific isle, peopled only by simple folk ignorant of modern technology. Imagine that he took with him highly sophisticated construction machinery and built a fine, enormous building of native material in a very brief time. Suppose that he then summoned the amazed inhabitants to view his handiwork, described to them in simple terms they could comprehend what he had done and even demonstrated the use of his machinery for them. Envision that these men to whom the engineer had spoken then wrote down for posterity what they had been told concerning the origin of this marvelous edifice. Suppose some of those of later generations, reading this report, reacted by claiming that, since by observed engineering processes with which they were familiar, the construction of such an edifice would take years, that the report of its erection was either erroneous or figurative. After all, they might argue, if the engineer built a building with “apparent age,” he would be attempting to deceive them.

The basic fallacy of these doubters would be that they judged the actions of one far more knowledgeable than they in terms of processes they had observed. The “apparent age” was only in terms of building techniques they knew, rather than in terms of those actually employed. How could the engineer be accused of deceiving them when he had revealed to them, so far as they were able to comprehend, how and how quickly he had completed the edifice? Besides, with their primitive construction methods, no amount of time would be sufficient to finish such a building.

The God of the universe, the great Engineer of the worlds, created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1), using means unfathomable by man (cf. Job 38-41). He revealed to Moses and others that this remarkable edifice was completed in six days (Genesis 1:1 – 2:3). He demonstrated to Moses and other inspired writers the supernatural power He possesses by means of miracles and explained as much about His divine power as ignorant men are capable of understanding. The inspired writers to whom God spoke penned for all subsequent generations the record of this creation. But many of our generation, in reading this inspired record, contend that, since by observed natural phenomena with which they are familiar the development of such a universe would take billions of years, that the Bible account of creation is either erroneous or figurative. After all, they assert, if God created a universe with “apparent age,” He would be attempting to deceive them.

The primary error of these infidels is that they judge an infinitely powerful and wise God in terms of naturally discoverable human knowledge. The “apparent age” is only in terms of observed natural processes, rather than in terms of the supernatural power really used. How could the Creator be accused of deceiving us when he made known, as well as we can comprehend, how and how quickly He created the worlds? And no amount of time is sufficient for the universe to come into being by natural processes.

Did God deceive man by creating a universe with “apparent age”? Hardly! There are simply some who are self-deceived (Rom. 1:18-25).

Truth Magazine XXIV: 42, pp. 678-679
October 23, 1980