The short answer is that modern humans (Adam and Eve) were indeed created about 6,000 years ago, and that God has a 6,000- or 7,000-year plan for man.
In our Q&A on Hebrews 4:9, we stated the following:
“Paul draws an… analogy between the weekly Sabbath and the Millennial rest at the end of man’s rule, comparing the coming Millennial rest with a Millennial ‘Sabbath’ of 1000 years. Several Scriptures indicate a 7000-year plan of God — comprising a ‘week’ of seven 1000-years ‘days.’ God gave man 6000 years (or 6 ‘days’ of 1000-years each) to prove that man, under Satan’s influence, cannot rule himself. These first six ‘days’ of 1000-years each will be followed by the seventh ‘day’ of 1000 years, called the Millennium, during which Christ and His elect will rule this earth (compare Revelation 20:4-6; 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4)…
“We also have a rest on a weekly basis, when we keep the weekly Sabbath. Paul states that as God rested from His work on the seventh day (Hebrews 4:4), so man is to rest from his work during the weekly Sabbath, and during the Millennial Sabbath at the end of man’s worldly rule — when the first 6000 years of God’s plan for creation have expired. As the weekly seventh day of God’s re-creation ended God’s work, so the weekly Sabbath lets us rest from our work, and the Millennial Sabbath of 1000 years will end the rule of man, under Satan’s influence, to be replaced by God’s rule.”
In another Q&A on God’s master plan, we explained that God did not create man at the time when He created the universe and the earth. We also addressed the fact that God created man about 6,000 years ago. We said the following:
“Is there really any evidence for a 6,000-year plan? Here is an important Scripture for us to consider in this regard: ‘But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ (2 Peter 3:8). This verse provides a basis for believing that God is working out certain parts of His plan in the context of 6,000 years…
“Consider this additional fact concerning the length of time that has transpired leading up to the time of Jesus Christ’s birth: ‘So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations’ (Matthew 1:17). Before Abraham and before the Flood, the Bible records life spans of certain individuals, and from these, a general idea of the number of years of that period can be derived. However, even with this information, experts vary when it comes to exact numbers…
“For those who accept the Biblical record, it is apparent that we are now living in what can generally be understood as the period of time that is now about 6,000 years since God first created Adam and Eve. The most poignant conclusion for us is that we are now living in the generation that will witness the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth.
“Some have pointed to 2 Peter 3:8, claiming that God allotted man exactly 6,000 years to rule this earth, and that after exactly 6,000 years, Christ will return. However, that is not what 2 Peter 3:8 conveys. The Scripture reads: ‘… with the Lord one day is AS a thousand years, and a thousand years AS one day.’
“This Scripture does not provide us with a fixed date. The Greek word for ‘as’ is ‘hos,’ and it can also be translated as ‘about.’ (Compare Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, under ‘about.’) In fact, the Authorized Version translates this word 14 times as ‘about.’ For instance, the word ‘hos’ is correctly translated as ‘about’ in passages such as Mark 8:9; Luke 2:37; 8:42; and John 1:39… From this we can know that 2 Peter 3:8 conveys the principle that in the eyes of God one day is ABOUT 1,000 years—not necessarily exactly so…”
The concept of a biblical 7,000-year plan and the creation of man about 6,000 years ago has been believed by Jews and Christians alike over the millennia. The historian Edward Gibbon wrote in “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” that this concept was taught by Rabbi Elias around 200 B.C., who expressed the common belief that it had been taught by the prophet Elijah. The Encyclopedia Judaica explains that this tradition can even be traced back to Moses.
The apocalyptical epistle of Barnabas, which was written around 130 A.D., addresses the 7,000-year plan as well, and Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote in “Against Heresies” in 150 A.D. about the 7,000-year plan of God. Bishop Latimer wrote in 1552 A.D. that the world would exist for 6,000 years, and some modern Jewish and Christian authors uphold the biblical teaching of a 7,000-year plan as well (compare Edward Chumney, “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah,” copyright 1998).
Others who taught a 7,000-year plan include Commodianus and Methodius in the third century, and Lactantius (tutor to the son of Roman Emperor Constantine) in the fourth century.
The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge pointed out that the “early fathers most commonly looked for the second advent at the end of 6000 years of the world’s history.” The Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition) wrote about the Talmud: “The view most frequently expressed there . . . is that the Messianic kingdom will last for one thousand years… ‘Hence the world will last for six thousand years of toil and labor; then will come one thousand years of Sabbath rest for the people of God in the kingdom of the Messiah.’ This idea must have already been very common in the first century before Christ.”
This view is also confirmed in the Jewish New Testament Commentary, by Dr. David H. Stern, on 2 Peter 3.
In “Mystery of the Ages,“ Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following in 1985, in the chapter, “The Mystery of Man,” pages 120-121:
“When God ‘drove out the man’ from the Garden of Eden, and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Gen. 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE!
“God [in the Person of Jesus Christ] said, in effect: ‘You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge–you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the ‘GETTING,’ ‘TAKING’ way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit—except for the exceedingly FEW I shall specially call. And that FEW shall be called for special service preparatory for the kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do—reject, resist and overcome Satan and his WAYS, and follow the ways of my spiritual LAW.
“‘Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form [your] own concepts of what is [good], your own religions, your own governments, your own life-styles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of SELF-centeredness—with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of LOVE.
“‘After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death—after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen—I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of PEACE. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.
“‘During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them—no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan’s pulls and overcome. But those who overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule.’”
In a letter by the Letter Answering Department of the Worldwide Church of God, which was published in 1987, the following was stated:
“Charts which list biblical events in time order… are accurate enough to show that human life was created about 4000 years before the birth of Christ. History makes it clear that almost another 2000 years have elapsed since then—making a total of nearly 6000 years of human civilization to date. In short, man’s ‘week’ is nearly over, and God’s great millennial rest will soon be here.”
Two possible objections need to be addressed. First, why do scientists tell us that modern man is much older than 6,000 years, and why do Jews believe that we are living in about 5775—apparently with at least another 225 years to continue before the expiration of 6,000 years of human existence?
Our German booklet, “EVOLUTION – ein MÄRCHEN für Erwachsene?”, discussed the estimated age of modern man (“homo sapiens”), which, according to “scientific” calculations, allegedly far exceeds 6,000 years. We disputed this and pointed out why the scientific methods of determining the age of some fossils is very faulty. We explained that especially the commonly-used Radio-Carbon method is unreliable, as some scientists admit.
For instance, a convincing rebuttal of the accuracy of the Radio-Carbon method to determine the age of “human” fossils can be found in the book, “In Search of Noah’s Ark” by Dave Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier (copyright 1976, 1979). Other scientists who went on record to question the accuracy of the scientifically determined age of “human” fossils include David Hatcher Childress (in a television interview with Charlton Heston) and Robert Gentry (compare Dennis Crews, “Mystery of the Rocks,” copyright 1990).
When discussing the age of man, we must understand that modern man (Adam and Eve) was created with a human spirit (the spirit in man or of man) which distinguishes man from animals. We do not question the possibility that fossils might have been found which would have pre-dated Adam and Eve, which might have had similar “appearances” as modern man. However, they would not have been human beings, but ape-like creatures. (Of course, the possible existence of such pre-Adamic ape-like creatures proves in no way the accuracy of the evolution theory. Modern man did not evolve from these creatures.)
Let us now address the second question: Why do the Jews count the years differently than we do? For instance, the year 2014 is Elul 5774-5775 according to the Jewish reckoning. The Jewish calendar puts creation at 3760 B.C.E., but this date is quite impossible. It has been suggested that the Jewish calendar actually begins with the time or birth of Enosh — grandson of Adam and Eve — who was born 235 years after the creation of Adam (Genesis 5:3-6). However, no plausible explanation has been given for that conclusion.
A letter from the Letter Answering Department of the Worldwide Church of God explained this puzzle in this way (compare also The Good News, November-December 1987 edition):
“… the Jews count their years from 3761/3760 B.C.E. (Before Common Era). That is the year of the commencement of the lunisolar calendar. In the century following the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) certain Jewish scholars took the date 3761/3760 B.C.E. and assigned to it the time described in Genesis 1 and 2. Thus, the Jews preserved the correct date for calendar calculation but mistakenly associated it with the creation week.
“Actually, Creation occurred over two centuries prior to the beginning of the lunisolar calendar. The basic fact on which the lunisolar calendar is based, the average length of the lunar month, would have taken more than two centuries of measurement and observation to determine.
“The Jews celebrate their new year in the autumn. The Bible refers to two different years, the civil and the sacred. In ancient Israel, the civil year began in the autumn, on the first day of the seventh month. It is comparable to the fiscal year in the United States. It was more or less the legal year, which was used to reckon the reign of kings and other chronological events. The true sacred year of the Bible begins with the month of Nisan (also called Abib), in the spring (Ex. 12:2). The sacred year portrays God’s great plan.”
From all the biblical and historical evidence, facts and records available to us, we have to conclude that the Jewish reckoning for the time of man’s creation is wrong, and that the 6,000 years of human rule, which were allotted to man, are almost over. This means that the return of Jesus Christ is near to restore the Kingdom and Government of God here on earth. However, we are not to set dates, even though we are to watch to determine the signs of the time (Matthew 24:32-35). But Christ warned us very specifically:
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming… Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42, 44).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link