Faith Matters

Universe celebrates 6019th birthday

Ussher said that creation began at around 6pm on Saturday October 22 4004BC 
Cathal McGuigan

THE UNIVERSE was created 6019 years ago last night, according to the calculations of James Ussher, who served as Archbishop of Armagh from 1625 until his death in 1656.

In the 1658 book Annales veteris testamenti (Annals of the Old Testament) Ussher revealed his calculation that God began his creation of the universe at nightfall, elsewhere estimated to be around 6pm, on Saturday October 22 4004BC.

He also established dates for important biblical events. For example, Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise on Monday November 10 4004BC, while Noah’s Ark came to rest on the Mountains of Ararat on May 5 2348BC, which Ussher claims was a Wednesday.

Ussher, originally from Dublin, was a prolific scholar and served as a Professor and later the Vice Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1650 he began the ambitious task of writing a history of the world from creation until 70 AD.

He travelled through Europe and consulted holy texts and well as histories of the Middle East and Mediterranean in order to reach his date.

Ussher’s date of creation became popular after being included in versions of The Bible for nearly three centuries, beginning in the late 1600s. 

The idea that the universe was created around 6000 years ago continues to cause problems today.

DUP MLA Mervyn Storey was at the centre of a row concerning creationism in 2009, when he objected to signs at the Giant’s Causeway, which informed the public that the rock formation was around 550 million years old.

The Ulster Museum has also been criticised by Storey and former Culture Minister Nelson McCausland of the DUP for failing to include exhibits that reflect creationist beliefs.

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