Charles W. Penrose in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

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Charles W. Penrose in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

In times past a large portion of the religious world, following perhaps the chronology of the scriptures given by Archbishop Usher, believed that the creation took place in the year 4004 before Christ. but this no longer prevails among enlightened people, and has been exploded by researches and developments and scientific observation. Geology, or "the science of the earth.” has demonstrated the fallacy of the idea that the earth is such a young; planet in this universe. We do not regard geology as sufficiently scientific to determine exactly the period when this globe rolled into organized existence, revolving on its own axis and traveling [sic] on its career round the sun, but the data furnished by thoroughly sincere and truth exploring geologists are sufficiently definite and reliable to prove that this planet existed and moved and had its being long ages before the six-thousand-years period....

The light thus thrown on the process of creation and the periods thereof , throws hack the age of the earth at least :1 period of six thousand years before the time set forth in the chronology, which for 3 long time was accepted in Christendom. Readers of the Bible should understand that the figures placed at the head of chapters therein are in It large degree speculative and unreliable: some of them, showing the periods from the birth of some of the patriarchs to that of others. are measurably correct, because they are computed from statements given in the sacred record. But those ventured as starting points on which to calculate the age of the earth, are altogether mere matters of conjecture? That which we have referred to as given by modern revelation does not die- close. or profess to disclose, the actual age of the earth. It only starts from the period alluded to in Genesis 1: 3, when “God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” How many ages upon ages passed from the time called “in the beginning," to that when God called forth the light out of the midst of the darkness, cannot be gleaned from any revelation or scripture ancient or modem, that is now known to man.

Neither the periods nor the processes of the development of the earth from the nucleus or starting point of its organized development are revealed in the sacred writings, but there may have been eons of ages between the time mentioned as “in the beginning” until the time when “God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” And it should not be thought that this command of Deity was the actual creation or formation of light, for that is an eternal principle or manifestation of an eternal essence. It was simply the bringing forth of light to penetrate “the darkness which was upon the face of the deep.” So, when after several periods in the order of creation “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night,” and further, when it is said, “God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also,” it is not to be understood that they were for the first time brought into being, but that they were disclosed to this globe, and their influence was brought to bear upon it by the clearing away of the dense mists that had surrounded this planet. [1]


  1. Charles W. Penrose, "The Age and Destiny of the Earth," Improvement Era 12 no. 7 (May 1909), 505-509.