Did God Trick Us?

by Barry Newton

We missed previous airings. So when we stumbled upon the 1997 television event “The Greatest Secrets of Magic Revealed,” recently filling the airwaves, we were hooked.

A spectacular illusion would be performed. Predictably, we would attempt to propose possible solutions, if we could even think of one.

Then anxiously, we would watch to see if the unveiling revealed we were close. Clearly, the truth can be different than appearances.

Watching the masked magician at work, reminded me of a charge I have heard made against God as I grew up. It went something like this, “if the earth is not billions of years-old, then God is trying to trick us because that is how old the earth appears.”

Both science and assumptions lie behind such an indictment. We can calculate how long it takes under present conditions for radioactive elements to decay into stable atoms if no contamination or leaching occurs. It would take a vast amount of time that exceeds a biblical chronology for uranium-238 to turn into current amounts of lead-206, or for potassium-40 to degrade into the daughter atom argon-40.

Accordingly, the presence on earth of lead-206 or other similar daughter elements would suggest that the earth has been around for a very long time. But such a conclusion requires assuming that when the earth began it did not contain any lead-206 or any other daughter elements.

But what if God created lead? If God made lead or other daughter elements, then utilizing radiometric dating techniques would reveal an earth older than it really is. Hence, the basis for some making the accusation that if the earth is not billions of years-old, God is trying to trick us.

I was just a kid, but I remember quietly asking myself, “Who said we were supposed to use radioisotopes to determine the earth’s age?”

I now quietly wonder if this technique does not, in fact, presuppose a naturalistic ideology, since using it assumes no daughter elements were present at earth’s beginning.

If God created daughter isotope elements such as lead, nitrogen or argon, then this whole method for dating rocks becomes useless, except for dating very recent uncontaminated specimens.

In a strange twist of fate, perhaps many have been deceived, but not by a Creator trying to trick us. Rather, it might just be that our own smoke and mirror system has created the illusion of a distant past that never existed.

In theory, radiometric dating methods might have some validity if someone assumes that there is no Creator or if they can know exactly what God did and did not make. But for me, such claims have always seemed like making some rather large assumptions.

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9 Replies to “Did God Trick Us?”

  1. I find that the author of this article does not even hint at the possibility of God tricking us. In fact, he clearly states: “not by a Creator trying to trick us”. God is love, God is just, God is truth. We need to be challenged from time to time and we certainly need to challenge false doctrine. I’m grateful for the article and others posted here.

  2. You perceived the intent of my article correctly. God has not tried to trick us, Rather, God has been revealing to us what is true if we are willing to listen.

  3. (Barry’s note – I’ve shortened this lengthy comment to the content addressing the above article) I’m not sure why it needs to be a trick. Radioisotopes are just one of the ways we come up with the perceived age of the earth and the universe. Certainly God could have known the state the universe needed to be in to sustain mankind, and created it in-state a few thousand years ago, or created it new and expedited the process. Its not just radioisotopes. we see consistant aging in sediment depositing, layers in the rocks… fossils in these layers. (deleted section)
    … No God is not a Tricky God. God gave us minds to think and explore. God gave us his word defining his will for us and his purpose in creation and most importantly, in salvation. Its not a magic trick, its not tricky at all. Its only tricky when you are trying to fit a square peg into what we feel should be a round socket. ( in this case.. an earth created 4004bc )

  4. While there have been individuals who have dismissed data by claiming that God has put evidence in our universe to harden those who would not believe (hence making God a tricky God), my article actually responds to such an unfortunate mindset. God has been truthful.
    From your closing thought, it would appear you understand the evidence suggests a very ancient earth and to think otherwise involves being irrational.
    Both this article and the subsequent one, are actually calls to be responsible with logic and to reflect before rushing to conclusions about what the evidence is actually telling us. If we do not know what minerals and rocks God created, then the scientifically measured process of radioactive decay can not provide reliable conclusions about age. In order to draw a responsible conclusion, we must know the starting conditions. To assume the starting conditions were “zero” would seem to require assuming a naturalistic framework, but if a Creator made everything, what do we actually know about those starting conditions?
    As to sediment layers, they are “consistent” in that the process is ever ongoing, but they are not uniform due to catastrophes. Thanks for the feedback.

  5. God isn’t trying to trick us. On the contrary, it is man who is using a method of determining age that is centered in assumption. The carbon-14 dating method ASSUMES the same amount of carbon has been present in substances since the creation. But, there was a worldwide flood that changed the levels of C-14. Just as 2 Peter 3:4 states, “For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” This is the consistent mistake science has always made. It attempts to ASSUME everything is the same all the way back to the beginning, and it ISN’T!

  6. God created man full grown and made woman from the rib in his side.
    God also created a world and universe full grown able to sustain man and all his needs for existence. What is so hard to understand about that?

  7. There is nothing hard to understand about this. Furthermore, I have also argued for the early earth being a full grown product by introducing the possibility that God made lead, etc.
    This article was not written for those already ascribing to creation, but for certain scientifically-minded individuals who might derisively view the story of creation thinking they stand on solid ground, but be blind to their unwarranted assumptions.

  8. My comment was not an indictment of the author rather a statement of bewilderment in that some work harder trying to prove some scientific therory rather than accept the ever so obvious bible account.

  9. Thanks for the clarification. I am not always sure to whom comments are addressed. I appreciate your effort and those of others in making a comment.
    The scientific method is wonderful, although the scope of the knowledge it can produce is limited. The philosophical position of naturalism which attempts to make science into its own image is where deception can occur.

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