Many cultures have held traditional beliefs that the Earth, or indeed the entire Universe, was brought into being in a grand Creation event by one or more gods. Once these cultures developed calendars, many began to ponder the question of precisely how long ago it was that this event happened. This article discusses some attempts to estimate the date of Creation.
|Table of contents|
2 Date of Creation according to Hindu Scripture
3 Date of Creation according to the Mayan calendar
4 Date of Creation according to modern astrophysics
5 External links
Dating the Biblical Creation
The Bible begins with the Book of Genesis, in which God creates the world, including the first human, a man named Adam, in a period of six days. Genesis goes on to list many of Adam's descendants, in many cases giving the ages at which they had children and died. By interpreting these ages literally, and adding them up, it is possible to build up a chronology, in which many of the events of the Old Testament are dated to an estimated number of years after the Creation.
Some scholars have gone further, and have attempted to tie in this Biblical chronology with that of recorded history, thus establishing a date for the Creation in a modern calendar. Since there are periods in the Biblical story where dates are not given, the chronology has been subject to interpretation in many different ways, resulting in a variety of estimates of the date of Creation.
One of the best known estimates in modern times is that of Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656), who proposed a date of Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC, in the Julian calendar. It is a common belief that he also gave an exact time of Creation, but this is not found in Ussher's work . Andrew D. White, in his book A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, attributes the following statement to Dr. John Lightfoot (1602 - 1675), Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, who was a contemporary of Ussher, but who published his own calculations before Ussher's were completed:-
- "[T]his work took place and man was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C., at nine o'clock in the morning."
- J. Ussher, The Annals of the World iv (1658)
Date of Creation according to Hindu ScriptureAccording to Hindu scripture, the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, existence in four yugas (ages) totalling exactly 4,320,000 years, and dissolution. The current universe is believed to have been created around the 3889th millennium BC and is expected to dissolve during the 431st millennium AD.
Date of Creation according to the Mayan calendar
The Mayan calendar dates the creation of the Earth to August 11 or August 13, 3114 BC (establishing that date as the year 0.0.0.0.0).
Date of Creation according to modern astrophysics
According to the Big Bang theory, our universe came into being from a gravitational singularity 13.7 ± 0.2 billion years ago. Those who hold to the hybrid theory of creative evolution view this as the beginning of the Creation event. Atheists who hold to the Big Bang theory see this as the moment when the universe originated, but it is not proper to say that they date creation here, for in the atheistic view this is not a creation event, as the word creation implies a creator, but merely a moment at which natural processes brought the universe into being.