Q: I’ve heard that since the creation of our little world about 6,000 years have passed. Is this true? If yes, can you help me prove it using the Bible? — Gidion, From Tanzania
A: Gidion, belief in creation is core to our beliefs as Seventh-day Adventists, especially since worshipping God as the Creator is central to true worship (see Rev. 14:7). As stated in Fundamental Belief No. 6:
“God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. He created the universe, and in a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of the work He performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today.”
You may read the entire fundamental belief and more, including several Bible texts supporting this belief, on the Adventist.org website.
Regarding your specific question about the age of the Earth, I refer you to the very helpful website of the church’s Geoscience Research Institute (GRI). The GRI staff are highly competent, well-trained scientists, all of whom have earned Ph.D. degrees in various scientific disciplines.
GRI has an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section on their website, including a section addressing the age of the Earth. Here’s a portion of their answer:
“The chronological figures related to genealogies in Scripture add up to approximately 6,000 years since the creation described in Genesis. Many creationists consider these figures to be relatively complete, and thus the Earth is considered to be about 6,000 to perhaps as much as 10,000 years old.
“Biblical scholars do not agree on whether the Bible indicates that the planet Earth was created at the beginning of creation week or if it was already present as a lifeless, wet and dark planet here prior to creation week.
“Thus, the question of the age of the Earth could refer to the time since the Genesis creation week or to the time since the planet was first created. The Bible does not give an age for the Earth, nor is any theological point drawn from the age of the Earth, so it may not be as important as some of the other issues. …”
I encourage you to read more on the Geoscience Research Institute website. In addition, the Spirit of Prophecy is quite clear about the Earth being about 6,000 years old, and I very much accept that heavenly counsel. I would encourage you to read Chapter 9 of "Patriarchs and Prophets" titled "The Literal Week." You may read it here in multiple languages.
Allow me to share with you some beautiful explanations to encourage your reading of that entire chapter and others in that wonderful book. The following are some marvelous quotations from pages 111-114 of "Patriarchs and Prophets":
“Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven literal days.
“Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man. …
“The assumption that the events of the first week required thousands upon thousands of years, strikes directly at the foundation of the fourth commandment. It represents the Creator as commanding men to observe the week of literal days in commemoration of vast, indefinite periods.
“This is unlike His method of dealing with His creatures. It makes indefinite and obscure that which He has made very plain. …
“The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. … Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than Mosaic record teaches. …
“Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods. But apart form Bible history, geology can prove nothing . . .
“God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in both science and art; but when professedly scientific men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. …
“The greatest minds, if not guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. …
“Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments, will be led to go a step further, and doubt the existence of God; and then, having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. These persons have lost the simplicity of faith.
“There should be a settled belief in the divine authority of God’s Holy Word. The Bible is not to be tested by men’s ideas of science. Human knowledge is an unreliable guide.
“Skeptics who read the Bible for the sake of caviling, may, through an imperfect comprehension of either science or revelation, claim to find contradictions between them; but rightly understood, they are in perfect harmony.
“Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and a correct theory of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements. All truth, whether in nature of in revelation, is consistent with itself in all its manifestations.”