We’ve all heard the horror stories. Teachers in government schools force students through strange, torturous machinations to do simple math. For example, many of us used to be able to add 121 + 13 in 1.72 seconds. The Common Core method takes 7 steps and 3 minutes and 18 seconds. You might think you need to do similar mathematical gymnastics to arrive at the age of the earth, so you leave it to the scientists. Or maybe you just ignore the subject because you don’t see how it relates to your everyday struggles to follow Jesus. Well, this is not a salvation issue, but it is an issue of authority. Here is what I mean.
For those who trust in an evolutionary view of history, determining the earth’s age is a complicated process. First, you have to find a meteorite, crush it up, and then send it to a lab for analysis. (Why a meteorite? I’ll get to that later.) Technicians measure the ratio of isotopes and enter that into a complex calculation that factors in the rate of radiometric decay. Out pops a number somewhere around 4,500,000,000 years (or at least that’s the expected result). That’s a whole lot of zeros!
But if you look to the Bible as the ultimate source of truth, a much simpler answer emerges. And you don’t even need to find a meteorite. All you need is a Bible and a calculator. In fact, open your Bible to Genesis 5.
While people might joke about reading genealogies as a substitute for counting sheep, they serve a very important purpose as part of God’s Word. These lists demonstrate the historical nature of the early chapters of Genesis. Real men had real sons, and we know how old each man was at the birth of his son.
Many refer to this list and the one in Genesis 11 as chronogenealogies since each name in Genesis 5 and 11 contains a time stamp. Seth was born to Adam at 130, and Seth had Enosh when he was 105. So from Adam to Enosh, 235 years passed. Using your calculator (I won’t make you do it the Common Core way), you can run down the list and add the ages from Adam to Noah. You should come up with 1,556 years to the birth of Noah’s sons (I’ll wait for you to check my math). But they were not triplets — Shem was the middle child (Genesis 9:24, 10:21), born when Noah was 502. That brings the date at Shem’s birth to 1,558 years after the creation of Adam.