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How important is the question of WHEN all things began?
Since all our major doctrines are rooted in the biblical claim of the historicity of Genesis 1 - 11, and in the reliability of the genealogies of Genesis 5, 11 and Luke 3 and Matthew 1, this question has a major bearing on the veracity of our faith in the story of Jesus' birth, life, substitutionary death, subsequent physical resurrection, ascension to glory and coming return to earth as Absolute Lord and Sovereign King.
It wasn't until relatively recently that the age of the earth was thought to be more than a few thousand years, and that only by those who desired to overthrow this foundational belief and the God with whom it was associated (Lyell, Darwin, et al.). Prior to this time, it was believed that Theology was the queen of the sciences. Many theologians felt that they must sacrifice their beliefs in the Bible in order to continue to be accepted by those of a secular philosophy in the academic world.
The more the christian thinkers capitulated to the secular ideas, the less credibility they accrued in the academic world. This was just the opposite of what they had expected.
Then, as the secular scientific ideas kept changing, the religious leaders who desired to maintain their credibility, had to also change their interpretation of the Bible, especially Genesis 1 - 11, in order to keep current.
As new secular ideas blossomed, and then were exposed as false or fraudulent by the evolutionary scientists, and as christian thinkers and leaders would adopt the new ideas, and then have to de-adopt them when they were changed...Christianity began to quickly lose its favorable opinion within the secular society.
One of the BIG ideas for the secularists has always been the idea that we can prove the age of the earth via our sophisticated DATING methods.
Setting aside the dependence of these methods upon unprovable assumptions, this article looks at the reliability of, and limitations of, some of the most common dating methods.
It all comes back to this; when we begin with God's word, and then view the record of the earth through that lense, those things we postulate should be present --- are. When we begin with a secularist viewpoint, and view the record of the earth through that lense, our ideas of millions of years keep having to be changed, because new data keeps coming to the surgace and poking big holes in our ideas.
So, I hope you enjoy reading this DATING article from Answersingenesis.org.