Biblical Genealogies and the Young Age of the Earth
The New Testament Genealogies
There certainly are genealogies in scripture which are not complete genealogies. Mathew's genealogy is an incomplete genealogy, but it is intended only to show his Jewish readers that their national history revolved around three great national eras: 1.) the era from the call of Abraham to David's reign; 2.) the era from David's reign to the Babylonish exile; and 3.) the era from the exile to the Messianic age of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew only mentions 14 individuals in each era and obviously leaves out some of the lineage, because he only wants to make his point that the birth of our Lord is the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises made to Abraham that his "seed" would bless all nations. The promise of a "seed" that would crush the head of the Serpent was first made after the Fall of Adam and the entrance of sin and death. Thus when God spoke to Abraham of a "seed" that would bless all nations, He was repeating His promise first made at the Fall to crush the head of the Serpent. Abraham understood that God's reference to the promised "seed" was a repeat of the God's original promise in Eden.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
In the minds of the Jewish people at the time of Matthew's writing of the gospel account, David's kingdom was the golden age of their history. They all longed to see the return of that glorious age which was lost at the Exile. The return of that golden age would mark the beginning and ushering in of the even more glorious "Messianic Age".
Matthew in writing of these 3 eras shows that the era of the Messianic "kingdom of God" had arrived and that the old era of captivity had ended in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we see the wise men of Matt. 2 ask "Where is the baby born to be king of the Jews?" The theme of the Davidic kingship of Jesus is the dominant theme throughout the three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The "Kingdom of God" or the "Kingdom of Heaven" phrase is used repeatedly in these gospels in almost every one of our Lord's parables and in His encounters with the Jewish leaders.
Yes, these genealogies are brief and incomplete genealogies to enable the gospel writer to make a theological point. However it was well understood that the word "son" (ben) in Hebrew can also mean grandson or descendant. So the writers were not concerned if certain individuals were left out of the genealogies of the gospel accounts. The same principle applies to the genealogies of Ezra 3:2., Ezra 7:1-5., and 1 Chron 6:7-9. These genealogies are abbreviated genealogies.
The Genesis Genealogies
The genealogies of Gen 1-11 are unique however. These genealogies give the exact age of the patriarchs when their male children were born and they give the exact age at which the patriarchs died. Therefore, the Genesis account not only gives us a genealogy but also a chronology for the exact number of years from the Fall to the Flood and also from the Flood to the Exodus. Thus we have a very dependable number for the age of the Earth from the birth of Cain to the present time.
Regardless of the date one ascribes to the Exodus, one can say that the age of the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old and not much older than that. The Genesis reckoning of the Masoretic text for the time span from the Adam to the Exodus is 2513 years. If one accepts the date of 1445 BC as the date of the Exodus we can give an approximate date for the beginning of the populating of the Earth as 3957 B.C. These computations depend upon the fact that Genesis gives the exact ages of the patriarchs. The fact that these ages are recorded means that one cannot say that there are links missing to the account. It is within these observations of the Genesis account that one can accept the fact that the Earth is young and approximately 6000 years old. The accuracy of these genealogies is reinforced by the epistle of Jude which declares that Enoch was the "seventh from Adam".
Jude 1:14-15 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
One must be very careful when one makes statements that the Bible is merely "a history of the covenants" and not necessarily "an accurate history of the world". The Judeo-Christian religion is not primarily a religion of experience, it is a religion based on true historical events in history in which God has intervened in history in His saving acts. Therefore one ought to confidently be able to state that the history of the world recorded in the Bible is both 1.) an inerrant historical record of God's covenantal dealings with Man from the Fall of Adam down to the apostolic era and also 2.) an accurate chronological history of the world from the creation of the world down to the apostolic era of the Christian gospel.
The reason that Christians must be insistent upon the use of the term "inerrant" historical record is that if the history recorded in the scriptures is in error then we have no way to know which part is erroneous and which is true history. We have to begin to pick and choose what is true and thus open the flood gate to denying whatever "facts" rub us the wrong way and one can then disregard those which do so. Make no mistake about it, the first step to eventual complete denial of the Christian faith is to take a compromising position in the matter of the reliability of the historical record of the Genesis account. We can say this while being fully aware of the so-called problems with the presumed length of the Egyptian dynasties and the claims made for long ages of recorded history. The bible is the only truly accurate record of the history of the world from Adam to the present day.