Why does the universe look so old? First, the most natural understanding from Scripture on the age of the universe is this: The universe looks old because the Creator made it whole.When He made Adam, Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man. He had the appearance of a man, which by our understanding would have required time for Adam to get old. But not by the sovereign creative power of God. He put Adam in the garden. The garden was not merely seeds; it was a fertile, fecund, mature garden. The Genesis account clearly claims that God creates and makes things whole.
Secondly, the universe looks old because it bears testimony to the effects of sin, and thus the judgment of God seen through the catastrophe of the Flood and catastrophes innumerable thereafter. The world looks old because, as Paul says in Romans 8, it is groaning. It gives empirical evidence of the reality of sin. And even as this cosmos is the theater of God’s glory, it is more precisely the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption that takes place here on this planet in telling the story of the love of God. Is this compatible with the claim that the universe is 13.5 billion years old?
In our effort to be most faithful to the Scriptures and most accountable to the grand narrative of the Gospel, an understanding of creation in terms of 24-hour calendar days and a young earth entails far fewer complications, far fewer theological problems, and actually is the most straightforward and uncomplicated reading of the text as we come to understand God telling us how the universe came to be and why it matters. The universe is telling the story of the glory of God, the Ancient of Days.