Young earth creationism is the view that the universe and the earth were created by God less than 10,000 years ago, over 6 24-hour creation days, as described in the first chapters of Genesis in the Bible. Here is an overview of some of the main biblical evidence that supporters of this view point to:
Genesis contains detailed genealogical records from Adam to Abraham, spanning approximately 2,000 years (Genesis 5, Genesis 11). Adding up the years of the patriarchs listed results in a timeline far shorter than evolutionary timescales. While there is debate about whether there may be gaps in the Genesis genealogies, a straightforward reading seems to support a young earth timeline.
In giving the fourth commandment to remember the Sabbath day, God said in Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” This passage clearly states that everything was created in six ordinary days.
No Death Before the Fall
According to the Bible, death came into creation as judgment for Adam’s sin (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12). Yet evolutionary timescales require death, bloodshed and disease for millions of years before humans arrived. The fossil record also shows evidence of cancer, infection, and other degenerative processes incompatible with a “very good” pre-Fall creation.
Recent Creation of Man
Genealogies indicate Adam was created approximately 6,000 years ago (Genesis 5, Luke 3). Scientific evidence confirms the recent origin of major human population groups arising from a genetic bottleneck in the last 10,000 years. Data from genetics, linguistics and archeology supports the biblical timeline for human origins.
Scarcity of Human Fossils
If humans evolved over millions of years alongside other hominids, we would expect to find abundant human fossils. However, the human fossil record is extremely scarce compared to what we find for other animals in the fossil record. This fits better with the biblical view of humans appearing late in earth’s history after long ages of preparation.
Radiocarbon in Diamonds
Radiocarbon C-14 decays rapidly and cannot survive for millions of years. Yet C-14 has been found in “ancient” diamonds, coal and fossil woods, suggesting they are not millions of years old after all. Significant C-14 in fossils and rocks indicates a young earth consistent with biblical timescales of thousands, not billions, of years.
Soft Tissue in Fossils
Original soft tissue, cells, proteins, DNA fragments and biomaterials have now been discovered in many supposedly millions-of-years-old fossils. But such tissues could not have possibly survived intact for extended periods. Their presence supports a young earth and recent deposition consistent with catastrophic worldwide flooding.
Faint Young Sun Paradox
The sun derives energy from nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. As hydrogen is depleted over time, the sun’s brightness should increase. Going back just 1 billion years, the sun would have been so faint that liquid water could not exist on earth. Yet geology shows clear evidence of liquid water on earth back to 3.8 billion years in conventional dating. This is inconsistent with astronomical and geological evidence unless the earth is young.
Unfolded Sedimentary Rock Layers
Sedimentary rock layers spanning hundreds of miles across multiple continents are without evidence of folding or faulting. This is consistent with geological layers being deposited rapidly by water in a global flood, but is inconsistent with slow processes over hundreds of millions of years in conventional geology.
Preservation of Organic Materials
Fossil leaves, tree trunks, insects, skin impressions and other organic artifacts cannot be reconciled with slow geological processes over millions of years. Rapid burial and fossilization is required. Global catastrophism on a young earth timeline satisfactorily explains the majority of such findings.
Helium in Zircon Crystals
Nuclear decay generates helium which diffuses out of crystals quickly. Yet zircon crystals contain far too much helium to be billions of years old. Accelerated nuclear decay on a young earth provides a logical explanation for helium trapped in zircons and for discordant radioisotope dates which consistently give ages far older than the true ages of the rocks.
Mitochondrial DNA in Humans
Mitochondrial DNA accumulates mutations at a known rate allowing an estimate of when the common female ancestor of humans lived. Calculations based on observed mutation rates suggest mitochondrial Eve lived approximately 6,000 years ago. This confirms the biblical genealogical data and timescale.
Agriculture and Civilization
The Bible describes relatively recent origins of basic agriculture and urban civilization shortly after the flood (Genesis 4, Genesis 11). The evidence of archaeology, ethnology and sociology confirms that agriculture, cities, metallurgy and other hallmarks of human civilization emerged abruptly on a global scale after the flood, consistent with the Genesis narrative.
Rapid Burial of Plants and Animals
Massive fossil graveyards with exquisitely-preserved flora and fauna are found across the continents and span the fossil record. These provide powerful evidence of catastrophic flooding associated with a global flood event, not slow deposition over millions of years in local settings. Rapid burial allows preservation of delicate structures that would decay otherwise.
Fossil trees and plants are often found traversing multiple geologic layers which are claimed to represent separate time periods spaced over millions of years. Polystrate fossils contradict the standard geologic column timescale and suggest rapid deposition as would occur in a global flood.
Rock layers like the St. Peter Sandstone, Redwall Limestone and Coconino Sandstone blanket hundreds of thousands of square miles across North America. It defies logic to suppose slow gradual processes over millions of years could produce such laterally extensive rock layers.
No Erosion Between Strata
Little or no erosion is found between many layers of the geologic column. Flat contacts between rock units lack significant channels or evidence of time gaps. This argues against deposition spanning hundreds of million years and rather supports continuous rapid burial by massive flooding.
Recent Uplift of Mountains
The height of mountain ranges and depth of ocean basins closely correlate around the earth. If erosion occurred for millions of years, such correlations would erode away. The distribution is much better explained by recent uplift associated with catastrophic plate tectonics during a global flood and its aftermath.
Recent Volcanic Activity
Voluminous ash beds across the continents speak of widespread volcanic activity in the past, accompanied by faulting and mountain building. Yet little erosion or soil formation separates each volcanic deposit. This suggests closely spaced episodes of volcanism, faulting and deposition on a young earth timeline after the Genesis flood.
Rapid Formation of Coal
Coal forms rapidly from vegetation under pressure and with limited oxygen. Many coal beds are massive in scale and span hundreds of miles in area. Slow formation over millions of years cannot reasonably account for the extent of known coal seams. Catastrophic burial provides a better explanation for the geographic distribution and size of coal beds.
Young Earth Climate Studies
Computer models incorporating higher levels of CO2, increased volcanic activity and accelerated plate tectonics during and after the Genesis flood successfully reproduce climate, precipitation and temperature distribution patterns observed in the rock record. This provides independent confirmation that the earth is thousands, not billions, of years old.
Existence of Comets
Comets consist of frozen gases and lose material every time they orbit close to the sun. Lifetimes for short-period comets are less than 10,000 years. The continued existence of comets over purported billions of years contradicts astronomical evidence and is better explained by a recent creation for comets and the solar system itself.
This overview presents multiple independent biblical and scientific lines of evidence that are best understood in the context of a young earth biblical creation model. While none prove creation conclusively by themselves, collectively they paint a compelling picture of a young earth and universe created in six literal days according to Genesis. The cumulative weight of evidence in this breadth of fields is best explained by accepting the plain meaning of Genesis as written: describing recent creation events in earth’s history thousands, not billions, of years in the past.