A while ago, I ran into someone’s statement on how ancient trees had convinced them the Bible’s basic timeline of history couldn’t be right. They felt the only realistic thing to do was go along with the God-deniers’ time scales.
For me, what we know about the oldest living organisms on earth is a thrilling reminder of God’s judgment and truthfulness.
How could we come to such different conclusions by looking at the same thing?
Just like fossils, trees don’t talk, so what this person had done was accept the ideas people had come up with based on what they expected the trees to show.
Let’s have a look at what we all know about these amazing trees:
Many trees have a life span causing them to die after a regular number of years.
- Peach trees usually die after just 10-15 years
- Lombard Poplars don’t make it past 20
- Maples can live from 100 to 300 years (Sugar Maples last longest)
- Some Firs can make it for over 1,000 years
- European Yew trees do too
- Africa’s Baobab trees are known to live into the 1,000s
- The oldest Kauri tree in New Zealand is said to be 2,000 years old
- A “Sacred Fig” was planted in Sri Lanka before Jesus was born and is still alive
- A Sweet Chestnut tree in Sicily is also older than 2,000 years
- The oldest Sequoia has 3,200 rings
But a few seem to keep going until something outside messes with them:
- Several Olive trees are known to be pushing 3,000 or more
- ‘Methuselah‘ the Bristlecone Pine has over 4,700 rings
Since we don’t see any signs of the oldest trees just deciding to quit, one of the questions we can ask Uniformitarians is,
“Why don’t we find trees far older than this?”
They can talk about clones and tree ring series going back 10,000 years or more, but they can’t tell you why no single tree has ever made it from further back than right where the Bible puts the World-Wide Flood.
In 1965, a scientist cut down a Bristlecone Pine in Nevada. When the rings were counted, they added up to just under 4,900. Which puts the tree’s first year at about 2,940 BC. This is the farthest back we’ve been able to count without having to rely on smart guesses.
The Institute for Creation Research has a great article on the reasonable range of dates for the Flood. Even if that Bristlecone made exactly one ring per year since it sprouted, the dates fit right in!
But many Creationists are pretty sure the Flood didn’t happen for another 400 years or so. We know the Flood violently uprooted everything and the land got completely reshaped. No sapling could have sprouted until the Flood was near its end. So what do they do with those extra years?
There is some interesting back and forth discussion among Creation Scientists how to have more rings than years. One paper is by John Woodmorappe. He’s talked to Bristlecone Pine specialists who say they’ve never seen more than one ring grow per year. He takes their experience as the standard. HIs concern isn’t the living trees though, it’s the timelines people put together using a lot of dead trees to push the dates way back.
But, as is often true for Creation Science, we can do experiments showing our ideas work in the real world. Someone has gotten Bristlecone Pine saplings to produce more than one ring a year. The research paper doesn’t seem to be online, but back in 1983, a guy named W. E. Lammerts got them to grow an extra ring in just two weeks!
Creation Ministries International has a big, long article on these evidences if you want to find out more.
The oldest trees on earth turn out to be silent witnesses to the Bible and God’s witness of earth’s history!
And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. Genesis 8:11
Besides the timelines Woodmorappe talks about, historical tree scientists trust Carbon-14 dating. Find out how trustworthy it really is HERE.