These responses share an important characteristic: they are both lies.
First, the science is far from settled. In fact, the evidence strongly supports a young earth in a universe that’s not even 10,000 years old.
For proof, look here. Better yet, check out Jay Hall’s excellent book YES: Young Earth Science and the Dawn of a New Worldview. In it, Hall presents an avalanche of evidence that the old earth model can’t possibly be true – evidence that spans disciplines from geology to paleontology. He discusses the history of various tools and techniques that have been used to promote the illusion of an old earth, and reviews some of the data that are normally downplayed or ignored completely. What’s more, Hall does it all in a uniquely breezy and easy-to-read format that should make it as useful for youngsters as it is for us old folks.
Second, the age of the earth, and the universe, is critically important; what we believe about it could determine our eternal destiny because it impacts what we believe about God.
Forget everything you’ve heard about all the possible scenarios, from directed panspermia to punctuated equilibrium. In the end, all origins theories fit neatly into one of two possible categories: either the Time Plus Chance formula of evolutionary models, or Special Creation as outlined in the Bible. Although some scientists would like us to believe it’s so complex that we shouldn’t pretty our little heads over it, there really is no other option; the universe as we know it came into existence either by random chance over vast ages, or it was created fairly recently by an Intelligent Designer.
Consider the implications: If any of the Time Plus Chance theories is true, God may or may not exist; He would in fact be irrelevant in any of these scenarios, because everything could have come into being without Him. But if Time Plus Chance is impossible, then Special Creation must be true – and the Intelligent Designer, AKA God, must exist!
Which God is the real deal? That’s another study, one that has been covered in many books (including my own, Heaven Without Her). For the moment, if you’re not yet convinced, I hope you will take the time to satisfy yourself on the origins question. And by all means, include YES: Young Earth Science and the Dawn of a New Worldview on your reading list; I think you’ll enjoy it.