On a recent episode of the 700 Club program on the CBN TV network, hosted by Pat Robertson, a letter from a lady named Michelle was read in which she expressed her concern for her family. She said that her husband and teenage boys were questioning the Bible. Michelle wrote the following:

They tell me if the Bible is truth then I should be able to reasonably explain the existence of dinosaurs. This is just one of many things they question. … How do I explain things to them that the Bible doesn’t cover? I am so afraid that they are walking away from God.

Pat Robertson’s amazing (and disturbing) answer was as follows:1

Look, I know people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop Ussher—God bless him!—wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said it all took 6,000 years. It just didn’t.

Pat Robertson

And you go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating, you’ve got all these things, and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas. You know, they’ve got “Sue,” that big… what was it now, the fierce one—[Moderator suggests Tyrannosaurus]—yeah, Tyrannosaurus rex, and I think this one had a female name like Susie or something but anyhow—they’re out there!—and so there was a time that these giant reptiles were on the earth, and it was before the time of the Bible.

So don’t try to cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That’s not the Bible. That’s Bishop Ussher.

And so if you fight revealed science you’re going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was.

Well, we are certainly not going to lynch Mr. Robertson. But it is so sad to see a Christian leader making such a statement. It is precisely this type of compromise within the church that has caused such an erosion of people’s faith in the Word of God and a mass exodus of young people from the church. Here Mr. Robertson is saying that we should hold the ideas and opinions of man above the very Word of God itself. Let’s examine his statements more closely.

Look, I know people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop Ussher—God bless him!—wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said it all took 6,000 years. It just didn’t.

Robertson implies that young-earth creationists claim the earth is only about 6,000 years old solely on the basis of the work of Archbishop Ussher. Additionally, several major news agencies reported on Robertson’s comments and stated that Answers in Genesis holds to a 6,000-year-old earth because of Bishop Ussher. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Ussher was a brilliant and careful scholar and far more knowledgeable on this issue of chronology than most of his critics, we believe that the earth and all of creation is young not because Ussher says so, but because the Bible says so!

We know that Creation Week lasted six ordinary days because the Bible says so. A study of the use of the Hebrew word yom in Genesis 1 clearly indicates that God told us He created in six ordinary, twenty-four-hour days. So how do you put millions of years into the text where it plainly does not fit?

Further, Exodus 20:11 tell us, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” So again we see that God created everything in six ordinary days. (There was no “before the time of the Bible,” as Robertson claims, in which dinosaurs or anything else could exist, as we will discuss further below.)

So with a six-day Creation Week as our starting point, we can use the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11, along with other information in Scripture such as people’s ages, dates of births, and dates of key events, to come to conclusions about the age of the earth. This is precisely what Ussher did. And we recognize and honor this great scholar for the work that he did. We also owe a debt to many other great men who have done similar work throughout the ages. A number of these scholars—independent of Ussher and relying solely on Scripture—have concluded the age of the earth was in the range of 6,000–7,000 years.

It is true that the Bible itself does not contain a verse explicitly stating the age of the earth. A statement like “the earth is xxxx years old” would be wrong the year after it was written!

The Bible does, however, give us information to calculate reasonably accurately the age of the creation and conclude that all of creation is young (here meaning a few thousand, not millions, of years old). Robertson sets the Bible’s authority on this subject aside, essentially inventing a “before the time of the Bible,” to accommodate what he thinks man knows about dates and dinosaurs. Robertson says the following:

And you go back in time, you’ve got radiocarbon dating, you’ve got all these things, and you’ve got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas. You know, they’ve got “Sue,” that big… what was it now, the fierce one—[Moderator suggests Tyrannosaurus]—yeah, Tyrannosaurus rex, and I think this one had a female name like Susie or something but anyhow—they’re out there!—and so there was a time that these giant reptiles were on the earth, and it was before the time of the Bible.

There are so many problems here, it is difficult to know where to begin.

First of all, Robertson makes a very common error of assuming that carbon dating is how scientists determine the age of the earth. He uses this as proof for an old earth, revealing his ignorance about dating methods. Carbon dating is not a method that can be used to date things that are supposedly millions of years old. Secular scientists do not derive their millions of years from carbon dating. The outer limit for carbon dating would be 80,000–90,000 years. Secular scientists interpret data from other radiometric dating methods to arrive at vast ages for the earth. However, these interpretations are based on a number of unverifiable assumptions. These assumptions and the inconsistencies of radiometric dates have been dealt with extensively on our ministry website.2

Next, Robertson believes that the mere existence of dinosaurs is evidence for an old earth. After all, he says, they are “frozen in time.” He states that they were on the earth “before the time of the Bible.” This is puzzling because the Bible claims to give the true history of the world, and it begins with the creation of the earth itself. So exactly where does Robertson put the dinosaurs? Surely, not before the creation of the earth!

You see, starting with the plain teaching of Scripture, we can give sound answers about dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are land animals and were created on the sixth day of Creation Week (not “before the time of the Bible”) along with all the other land animals and man. They lived and reproduced for hundreds of years before the Flood. Then God led at least two of each kind of land animal to Noah. Therefore, two of every kind of dinosaur were on board the Ark. During the Flood the entire surface of the earth was remodeled and billions of creatures were trapped in water-deposited sediments, forming fossils (including those dinosaurs that Robertson says were “frozen in time”). After the Flood, the waters receded, and the dinosaurs and the other animals got off the Ark and lived on earth with man. Evidently, the dinosaurs eventually went extinct like so many other creatures have over the centuries.

Michelle, who posed the question of Pat Robertson, thought the Bible did not explain the existence of dinosaurs. But when we realize that dinosaurs were simply land animals, it is easy to see that the Bible’s account of creation and the global Flood explains the dinosaurs—their existence and their presence in the fossil record. Robertson’s answer failed her completely because he did not understand this very simple fact: dinosaurs were land animals. And he is not paying attention to the details of Genesis. Then Robertson went on to throw out clear truths of Scripture.

So don’t try to cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That’s not the Bible. That’s Bishop Ussher.

And so if you fight revealed science you’re going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was.

And here by far is the most dangerous statement Robertson made on his broadcast. Basically, he is saying to our youth, “Don’t believe the Bible; believe in man’s ideas!” Furthermore, he states that if we don’t use “revealed science” to reinterpret the Bible, we will lose our children.

Here he is totally wrong. This type of compromise is actually causing our young people to walk away from the church. We documented this connection in the book Already Gone. The book’s statistical analysis of a national survey helps us understand why our young people are leaving the church. One of the major reasons is the hypocrisy of those who, like Robertson, pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to believe and reject the rest.

Robertson promotes the idea of millions of years and ridicules Christians who believe the earth is young (many of whom, unlike Robertson, have earned PhDs from secular universities in relevant fields of science such as geology, geophysics, and astrophysics). He claims we must reinterpret the Bible because he is sure the earth is millions of years old. The basis of his certainty, he says, is “revealed science.”

“Revealed science”? This is an odd term. In the Bible we have the revealed Word of God, true and completely reliable. We therefore often refer to the Bible as “divine revelation.” But God has not “revealed” millions of years to scientists. Robertson’s terminology here is confused and confusing.

Robertson apparently does not understand the difference between operational science and historical science.

Operational science is science of the here and now—science done in the present. This is the science that gives us technology and cures for disease. Operational, experimental science put man on the moon and gave us computers, cell phones, and wonderful medical advances.

Historical science, on the other hand, is the sort of science used to explain our origins. Because we cannot return to the time of our origins to make actual observations and scientific tests, we must rely on a historical record describing that time. Scientists can either accept the biblical record of those unobservable events long past, or they can make unverifiable assumptions that reject the biblical history provided by God. In attempting to explain all that exists while rejecting God’s Word, those scientists are basically just telling stories about the past. They make assumptions about the unobservable past based on their own anti-biblical worldview and then use those assumptions to interpret the evidence (e.g., rock layers and fossils) that they observe in the present. For example, they find a fossil of an extinct creature and then make assumptions about how it lived, what it ate, how long ago it existed, etc. Millions-of-years interpretations of radiometric measurements rely on related anti-biblical assumptions.

Apparently, Robertson thinks that historical (origins) science and operational (experimental) science are one and the same. He fails to understand that the time of our origins—which is, incidentally, the beginning of the “time of the Bible,” not “before the time of the Bible”—is not available for scientific testing.

Robertson feels that “revealed science” trumps Scripture. Therefore, he indicates that by using “science” we can decide which parts of the Bible are true and which are not. What he really means is that we must use the majority view among scientists (most of whom are lost sinners still in rebellion against God) to interpret the Bible, rather than using the Bible to interpret the Bible.

Robertson believes Genesis cannot be real history because secular scientists dogmatically insist on millions of years. Therefore, Robertson advises us to reject the history in Genesis (and also, incidentally, Exodus 20:11) because man says so.

Robertson would have our youth reject Genesis because of the ideas of fallible man, but then would he logically say that the gospel should be rejected by the same criteria? After all, “science” (i.e., the majority of biologists and anthropologists) insists that virgins don’t have babies and dead men don’t come to life again after three days. So, based on science alone, the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ would only be myths. So why not teach that the Gospel accounts should be rejected?

While Robertson does not deny the literal history of Adam and Eve and their literal fall into sin, his acceptance of millions of years is an admission that millions of years of death ravaged the earth before God ever uttered His curse (Genesis 3:14–18) upon the earth and man because of sin. Romans 8:19–23 clearly connects this curse on the whole creation to Adam’s sin and, along with Colossians 1:19-20, declares that the death and resurrection of Christ is the solution to set us free from that curse. The full redemptive work of Christ will be complete when He returns and creates a new heavens and new earth where there will be no more curse (Revelation 22:3). Robertson’s position, like all old-earth views, therefore confuses and undermines the gospel message.

To put it plainly, if the history in Genesis can be rejected, then why should we believe the gospel that is based on that history? If Robertson is correct and the earth is millions of years old, then what do we do with the fossils? If the fossils document millions of years of earth history, then we have millions of years of death and suffering before Adam’s sin. If man evolved from ape-like creatures over the last few million years, then there is a trail of death in the evolution of man.

So what about verses like Genesis 2:17? God said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

Basically, God told Adam, “Don’t do that or you are going to die.” If man evolved, what would Adam’s logical response be? How about this: “So what? I’m going to die anyway! Everything dies!” So God’s warning would have been meaningless.

Yet God’s curse on man’s sin heralded the beginning of death in both animals and man. Only Christ can free man from the curse of death.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Scripture here tells us that Jesus went to the Cross to save those who died in Adam. Additional Scriptures (Romans 8:19–23, Revelation 21:3–5; 22:3) inform us that Christ’s sacrifice will eventually result in an end of the curse of death upon all of creation, “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). Yet in Robertson’s view, those New Testament verses cannot be true. Evolution would require death before man’s sin. The millions-of-years view, by demanding death before sin, challenges the gospel message itself.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

Here we are clearly told that death came as a result of man’s disobedience. But that cannot be true if Robertson is correct. And once again, man evolving from ape-like creatures would require death to be present before manned sinned. Robertson’s beliefs on this matter, by denying the cause of the curse of death that Christ came to rectify, are logically an attack on the gospel itself.

So if Robertson would encourage us and our children to mold our thinking based on the views of secular humanists, then why not adopt their view on other things? Why not adopt the views of the secular world about abortion, about marriage, about homosexual behavior, about premarital sex, about child-rearing, and about morality? After all, if the secular world is wise enough to tell us how to interpret our Bibles, it must be wise enough to guide us in other areas, too.

It is compromisers like Robertson who actually lead our children astray. Somehow they cannot or will not see that actively encouraging our youth to doubt the Word of God has led to an enormous loss of confidence in the authority of Scripture among our young people (and adults in the church, too). We are not, however, justified in picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that we want to believe.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

We do not need to lean on the views and opinions of the secular world to determine which parts of the Bible are true. Either all of Scripture is true or else its overall trustworthiness is called into question. And we shouldn’t allow the secular, godless world tell us what Scripture means.

Our youth see this hypocrisy, so why can’t Robertson? Perhaps he is seeking the approval of man rather than the approval of God. Only he can answer this question.

In conclusion, it would be our prayer that Michelle and her family would someday have the opportunity to visit the Creation Museum. Here they would find answers—answers that would encourage them and strengthen their faith that God’s Word is worthy of their trust from the very first verse. They would soon understand that the Bible does have the answers they need. And at the museum bookstore or on our website they would find a wealth of scientific evidence that exposes the lie of evolution and millions of years and confirms the literal history of Genesis 1–11.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

You see, we at Answers in Genesis really do “believe in telling them the way it was.” We do that by presenting a sound, logical defense of the faith. And it all begins in Genesis.

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