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01-Jul-2017 13:28

Shai Cherry of Vanderbilt University notes that modern Jewish theologians have generally rejected such literal interpretations of the written text, and that even Jewish commentators who oppose some aspects of science generally accept scientific evidence that the Earth is much older.

Many of the earliest Christians who followed the Septuagint calculated the date of creation to be around 5500 BC, and Christians up to the Middle Ages continued to use this rough estimate: Clement of Alexandria (5592 BC), Sextus Julius Africanus (5501 BC), Eusebius (5228 BC), Jerome (5199 BC) Hippolytus of Rome (5500 BC), Theophilus of Antioch (5529 BC), Sulpicius Severus (5469 BC), Isidore of Seville (5336 BC), Panodorus of Alexandria (5493 BC), Maximus the Confessor (5493 BC), George Syncellus (5492 BC) and Gregory of Tours (5500 BC).

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The energetic advocacy and rhetoric of Lyell led to the public and scientific communities largely accepting an ancient Earth.Rather than accepting that the Earth was deteriorating from a primal state, he maintained that the Earth was infinitely old.Hutton stated that: the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now …As these processes were very gradual, the Earth needed to be ancient, in order to allow time for the changes to occur.

While his ideas of Plutonism were hotly contested, scientific inquiries on competing ideas of catastrophism pushed back the age of the Earth into the millions of years – still much younger than commonly accepted by modern scientists, but a great change from the literalist view of an Earth that was only a few thousand years old.A number of prominent early Church Fathers and Christian writers, including Origen and Augustine, did not believe that the creation myth in Genesis depicted ordinary solar days and read creation history as an allegory as well as being theologically true.An Earth that was thousands of years old remained the dominant view during the Early Modern Period (1500–1800) and is found typically referenced in the works of famous poets and playwrights of the era, including William Shakespeare: Support for an Earth that was created thousands of years ago declined among the scientists and philosophers from the 18th century onwards with the development of the Age of Enlightenment, the scientific revolution, and new scientific discoveries.However some contemporary or more recent proponents of Young Earth Creationism have taken this figure back further by several thousands of years by proposing significant gaps in the genealogies in chapters 5 and 11 of the Book of Genesis.