Since it can be shown that there is a tree over 9,500 years old https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416104320.htm , and according to the dates in the Torah, mankind has been around for 5778 years, does that mean that the 6 Days of Creation were not 24-hour days?


3 Answers 3


As I explain in Breishis - Creationism and Evolutionism the world could not exist unless it was created in a fully mature state. Thus Breishis 1:11

And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which its seed is found, on the earth," and it was so.

Thus mushrooms could not exist unless dead trees had been created for them to be groing on. Mature trees would be created with the appropriate number of tree rings. The atmosphere would have been created with the appropriate ratio of gases (including isotopes).

Carbon 14 dating assumes some initial proportion of carbon 14 to carbon 12 and that it had been decaying using that half life ever since.

As a result, it can only be use to calculate age back to the moment of creation at which point the object being dated came into existence with all of the appropriate properties.

Similarly, people argue that Adam did not have a navel because he was created fully mature (and so did not have an umbilical cord to cut) while others argue that he did because, being created fully mature, he would have shown all the evidence of how he had grown (including a navel).

As a result of this, the carbon dating process can only be accurate (to some extent) after creation and can be used only to show how Hashem wants the world to appear for ages more that. Note that 5778 is used as the time since the creation of Adam based on his life span and the following years so that it has no meaning for the time before that.

The idea is that Hashem set up the world in order to show what the laws of nature are designed to be. However, by definition, creation from nothing would have the world appear fully made with all evidence intact at the moment of creation.

  • 1
    The Omphalos Hypothesis may enable the reconciliation of a hyper-literal reading of Bereishit with that which we've observed about Creation, but it does not in any sense make the latter meaningless. Assuming that God created the Universe as an intricately detailed model of exactly what a universe would look like if it had evolved to that point in a manner consistent with the presently-observable laws of nature, then the details of that model are no more meaningless than those of that model's Author's other product for us, the Torah.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 3, 2018 at 18:57
  • @IsaacMoses I did not say it was meaningless, but that attempting to say that dating before creation does not prove what existed before creation Jan 3, 2018 at 20:39
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    "carbon dating ... is meaningless for ages before [0 A.M.]" I disagree. In that, per the hypothesis described here, such "ages" were meticulously modeled for us by God, analysis thereof, including determining how long ago God chose to make it look like each event happened, is quite a meaningful exercise. If you agree with me that the grand model God presented us with is meaningful (as opposed to, chas veshalom, arbitrary), I encourage you to reword your final paragraph.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 3, 2018 at 20:47
  • @IsaacMoses good point. I will have to rewrite that section to make the point that it is what Hashem wants it to look like. Perhaps make the analogy to creating 5 seconds ago. Jan 3, 2018 at 20:51
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/697/899
    – Yirmeyahu
    Jan 4, 2018 at 4:22

A more precise wording of your question is that, as the article mentions, carbon-14 dating places a tree at over 9,500 years old, just as it places many other items much earlier than that. This is a known question about carbon-14 dating and the age of the earth.

Many people take different approaches towards this. (And this has presumably been asked elsewhere even on this site.) And yes, one popular approach (which I can agree with personally) is that the 6 Days of Creation were not 24-hour days.

Other approaches can be (a) that the Torah is false, (b) that the science is false, (c) that we don't understand something elsewhere in Biblical chronology, e.g., the long lifespans which gives us the current year as 5778.

Here is one possible alternative I devised myself, just to show you that the 6-Days as non-24 hours days is not the inexorable conclusion.

Carbon-14 dating is based on a half-life of carbon 14. Namely:

Once the organism dies, however, it ceases to absorb carbon-14, so that the amount of the radiocarbon in its tissues steadily decreases. Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years—i.e., half the amount of the radioisotope present at any given time will undergo spontaneous disintegration during the succeeding 5,730 years. Because carbon-14 decays at this constant rate, an estimate of the date at which an organism died can be made by measuring the amount of its residual radiocarbon.

The carbon-14 method was developed by the American physicist Willard F. Libby about 1946. It has proved to be a versatile technique of dating fossils and archaeological specimens from 500 to 50,000 years old. The method is widely used by Pleistocene geologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and investigators in related fields.

It is extrapolation based on what is currently observed as to carbon-14's decay rate. So going back only once gives us a very eerie number, 5,730 ± 40 years, which is 5770. (Reminder that this year is 5778). When the method was discovered in 1946, this was 5706. It is only when we start calculating into that second half-life that we get something that contradicts literal biblical age of the earth.

I am not saying that this is the answer, or a correct answer. Just that there are plenty of possible answers out there.

  • 2
    Radioactive decay is a continuous process. It's not like every 5730 years, the carbon-14 atoms look at their watches and say "oh look, time for half of us to decay. Everyone, flip a coin!" Rather, over any given period of time, any carbon-14 atom has a chance of decaying with a certain known probability, such that, given a starting quantity of it, the expected number of atoms that will remain undecayed after 5730 years is half the original quantity. So, there's nothing special about the half-life; it's just a useful way to talk about such probabilities. There's nothing here to see eerieness in
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 3, 2018 at 12:46
  • A tree, however, has another way to measure its age. It grows a ring each year. Jan 4, 2018 at 14:08
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    indeed. from the article in the question, though, this tree does not have 9000+ rings. Rather, they found wood which they carbon dated to 9000+ years old, and this spruce has the same genetic makeup as the tree above it, because it is a clone. Thus is is the quote unquote "oldest living tree". From the article, "Since spruce trees can multiply with root penetrating braches, they can produce exact copies, or clones. The tree now growing above the finding place and the wood pieces dating 9,550 years have the same genetic material." Jan 4, 2018 at 16:39

Rashi clearly says that all trees were created at all different levels of maturity.

First of all, the verses themselves seem to contradict each other. First it says that Hashem created all vegetation, then it says, later, after Adam was created that "no vegetation had grown", so which one was it?

Rashi brings from the Midrash that the trees and vegetation were created underneath the ground, but didn't grow until Adam prayed for rain (see rashi there)

One might say that the trees were wiped out during the flood, but not all of them, and one of the biggest proofs for that is that the dove Noach sent out brought back an olive leaf "ripped off, in its mouth" and instantly Noach knew that the (1 year long) flood had subsided

If the trees were all wiped out, that means that the leaf would have had to have grown from a brand new tree that would have grown sometime from the last months of the flood to the end of the flood, a period of only a few months, and olive trees in general don't grow that fast. Although it could have been a miracle, there's no mention of it. Although the dove could have grabbed a leaf off the surface of the water, or from another fallen tree, that wouldn't have caused Noach to know, by looking at the leaf, that the flood had subsided, so its mentioned in the commentaries that there has to have been a noticeable difference between a leaf sitting on the water for a year and a leaf that had been freshly picked off of an olive tree, so that shows not all of the (bigger) trees were wiped out, and Rashi already said before that the vegetation grew to all levels of maturity when Adam prayed for it, whic hthat itself is brought from a midrashic source, well before anyone started claiming the world to be older than 5781 years based on tree rings..

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