World History Moment: Bishop Ussher's Creation Date
How old in the universe?
Modern science tells us the universe has been around for nearly 14 billion years old. But ancient peoples also pondered that question. The Egyptians said the universe was about 40,000 years old. The Chinese came up with a similar figure. Some Hindu scholars declared the universe had existed for 4 billion years. The Greeks and Romans had a wide range of dates.
In 1625, James Ussher became an archbishop in the Protestant Church of Ireland. In his spare time, he decided to make a precise calculation on the date of creation: 6 pm on October 22, 4004 B.C.E. To reach this time and date, Ussher did not rely on scripture alone. He was fluent in many ancient languages, so he was able to consult documents from a variety of different civilizations.
Historian John Schmidt tells us about the first widely-accepted theory about the timing of Earth’s creation.