I don’t know about you, but I love riddles and brain teasers. Whether it’s NPR’s Sunday Puzzle or FiveThirtyEight’s The Riddler or Zack Guido’s Of Course!: The Greatest Collection of Riddles & Brain Teasers For Expanding Your Mind (an excellent book, by the way), puzzles and mysteries and word problems are a great way to get your brainwaves humming and keep your mind sharp.
Did you know that there’s an intriguing riddle tucked inside the pages of your Bible? Maybe you’ve even tried to solve it before.
The puzzle is this: when exactly did God create the earth?
We often say that the earth is about 6,000 years old, but can we get any more precise than that? Does the Bible have any clues that suggest specifically when creation occurred? James Ussher famously claimed that the first day of creation was October 23, 4004 B.C., but is that accurate? Have you ever tried to figure it out yourself?
Several years ago, I decided to do the math myself and calculate how old the earth is, based on Scripture. I pulled out my Bible, grabbed a pencil and some paper, and started crunching the numbers. It’s actually a fun study, and I encourage you to do it sometime if you’re looking for a challenge.
I won’t give away the number I came up with because it’s better if you do the math yourself, but I will let you know that these passages are helpful if you’re trying to pinpoint when creation occurred (also, this is important: most experts think Solomon reigned from c. 970 to 931 B.C.).
- Genesis 5:1-32
- Genesis 7:6
- Genesis 8:13
- Genesis 11:10-26
- Genesis 21:5
- Genesis 25:26
- Genesis 47:9
- Exodus 12:40-41
- 1 Kings 6:1
So, have fun! Trying to date creation is a tricky job, but you’ll find many tantalizing clues scattered throughout the Old Testament. And hey, if you do the challenge and come up with an answer, let us know in the comments!