One of the basic questions of life is how old is the universe and the earth? As followers of the one true God and as people who believe the Bible, how should we respond to that question? The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:1 that God created the earth. Does the Bible tell us how long ago that was?
The Bible does not answer these questions with a single verse; rather, there is a series of verses that weighs in on this topic. This series of verses contains names and numbers that can be connected to one another, and if you add up the numbers in all these verses and include 2,000 years to get from Christ to the 21st century, you end up with an age of approximately 6,130 years. The detailed list is below, but first I have a few comments:
Some people believe you can’t take the Biblical numbers literally. They believe there are gaps and other issues that render the Bible numbers meaningless. I will not attempt to address those issues in this post. The point of this post is to document what the Bible actually says about the age of the earth so that when the question comes up, we know what the Bible says.
Second, while the Bible has very specific numbers that can be connected to one another, you cannot add up the numbers and say that is the exact age of the earth because the numbers are not quite that precise. For example, Genesis 5:3 tells us that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. The Bible does not tell us whether Adam was 130 years and 2 months, 130 years and 11 months, or something in between. This is true of most of the verses that are listed below. Those extra months make a difference when you are adding up dozens of numbers. Therefore, when you add up the numbers in the Bible, you do not end up with an exact age of the earth, rather you end up with an approximate age.
Third, some of the numbers below are the number of years that descendants of King David reigned over Israel and Judah. If you simply add up the numbers, you are not taking into account the possibility that some of the kings co-reigned with their predecessor for a few years. In that case, the actual number of years that went by would be less than the number arrived at by simply adding up the numbers.
Now let’s see what the Bible tells us. Below is a list of names and numbers found throughout the Old Testament that can be connected to one another in order to arrive at an approximate age of the earth. If we add them up, we see that there were approximately 4,130 years from Creation to Christ, and there have been approximately 2,000 years from Christ to the start of the 21st century. That means the Bible is telling us the earth is approximately 6,130 years old (give or take up to 50 years to account for the lack of precision in some of the numbers).
1,656 years from creation to the flood
6 days from the creation of the earth to Adam
Gen. 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen. 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
130 years from Adam to Seth
Gen. 5:3 When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.
105 years from Seth to Enosh
Gen. 5:6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh.
90 years from Enosh to Kenan
Gen. 5:9 Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan.
70 years from Kenan to Mahalalel
Gen. 5:12 Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel.
65 years from Mahalalel to Jared
Gen. 5:15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared.
162 years from Jared to Enoch
Gen. 5:18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch.
65 years from Enoch to Methuselah
Gen. 5:21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.
187 years from Methuselah to Lamech
Gen. 5:25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.
182 years from Lamech to Noah
Gen. 5:28-29a Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah…
600 years from Noah to the flood
Gen. 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.
292 years from the flood to Abraham
2 years from the flood to Arpachshad
Gen. 11:10 … Shem … became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood;
35 years from Arpachshad to Shelah
Gen. 11:12 Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and became the father of Shelah;
30 years from Shelah to Eber
Gen. 11:14 Shelah lived thirty years, and became the father of Eber;
34 years from Eber to Peleg
Gen. 11:16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and became the father of Peleg;
30 years from Peleg to Reu
Gen. 11:18 Peleg lived thirty years, and became the father of Reu;
32 years from Reu to Serug
Gen. 11:20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and became the father of Serug;
30 years from Serug to Nahor
Gen. 11:22 Serug lived thirty years, and became the father of Nahor;
29 years from Nahor to Terah
Gen. 11:24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and became the father of Terah;
70 years from Terah to Abram
Gen. 11:26 Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
720 years from Abraham to the Exodus
100 years from Abram to Isaac
Gen. 21:5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
60 years from Isaac to Jacob
Gen. 25:26 … his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
130 years from Jacob to the start of the Egyptian sojourn
Gen. 46:5-6 Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They took their livestock and their property, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and came to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him:
Gen. 47:9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty …
*It is possible that Jacob moved to Egypt before his 130th year.
430 years from the start of the Egyptian sojourn to the Exodus
Ex. 12:40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
480 years from the Exodus to Solomon’s temple
480 years from the Exodus to the construction of Solomon’s Temple
1Kings 6:1 Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
429 years from the temple to the exile
36 years from the construction of Solomon’s Temple to Rehoboam
1Kings 6:1 … in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
1Kings 11:42-43 Thus the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David, and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place.
17 years from Rehoboam to Abijah
2Chr. 12:13 … Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem …
2Chr. 12:16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah became king in his place.
3 years from Abijah to Asa
2Chr. 13:1-2 … Abijah became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem;
2Chr. 14:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place.
41 years from Asa to Jehoshaphat
2Chr. 16:13 So Asa slept with his fathers, having died in the forty-first year of his reign.
2Chr. 17:1 Jehoshaphat his son then became king in his place
25 years from Jehoshaphat to Jehoram
2Chr. 20:31 Now Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years.
2Chr. 21:1 Then Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place.
8 years from Jehoram to Ahaziah
2Chr. 21:5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 22:1 … So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.
7 years from Ahaziah to Joash
2Chr. 22:2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri.
2Chr. 22:11-12 But Jehoshabeath the king’s daughter took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest (for she was the sister of Ahaziah), hid him from Athaliah so that she would not put him to death. He was hidden with them in the house of God six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
40 years from Joash to Amaziah
2Chr. 24:1 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zibiah from Beersheba.
2Chr. 24:27 As to his sons and the many oracles against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings. Then Amaziah his son became king in his place.
29 years from Amaziah to Uzziah
2Chr. 25:1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
2Chr. 26:1 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah.
52 years from Uzziah to Jotham
2Chr. 26:3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jechiliah of Jerusalem.
2Chr. 26:23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the grave which belonged to the kings, for they said, “He is a leper.” And Jotham his son became king in his place.
16 years from Jotham to Ahaz
2Chr. 27:1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 27:9 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Ahaz his son became king in his place.
16 years from Ahaz to Hezekiah
2Chr. 28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do right in the sight of the LORD as David his father had done.
2Chr. 28:27 So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel; and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
29 years from Hezekiah to Manasseh
2Chr. 29:1 Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
2Chr. 32:33 So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became king in his place.
55 years from Manasseh to Amon
2Chr. 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 33:20 So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house. And Amon his son became king in his place.
2 years from Amon to Josiah
2Chr. 33:21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 33:25 But the people of the land killed all the conspirators against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place.
31 years from Josiah to Joahaz
2Chr. 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 36:1 Then the people of the land took Joahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in place of his father in Jerusalem.
3 months from Joahaz to Jehoiakim
2Chr. 36:2 Joahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 36:4 The king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Joahaz his brother and brought him to Egypt.
11 years from Jehoiakim to Jehoiachin
2Chr. 36:5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and he did evil in the sight of the LORD his God.
2Chr. 36:8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim and the abominations which he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.
3 months from Jehoiachin to Zedekiah
2Chr. 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.
2Chr. 36:10 At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon with the valuable articles of the house of the LORD, and he made his kinsman Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.
11 years from Zedekiah to the exile
2Chr. 36:11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
2Chr. 36:17-20 Therefore He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. All the articles of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and of his officers, he brought them all to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its fortified buildings with fire and destroyed all its valuable articles. Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia,
553 years from the exile to Christ
70 years from the exile to the rebuilding of Jerusalem
2Chr. 36:20-21 Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.
Dan. 9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
483 years from rebuilding Jerusalem to Jesus the Messiah
Dan. 9:25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
2,000 years from Christ to the 21st century
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