« On average, globe was warm last month | Main | Busy storm season, but just five hurricanes »

October 22, 2011

Ussher: Creation began this night, 4004 BC


Guy Ottewell’s Astronomical Calendar reminds us that, according to “The Annals of the Old Testament,” the 1650 classic by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, in Ireland, God began the creation of the world at nightfall on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 22, in 4004 B.C.

Hubble Space TelescopeThat would make this night the 6,015th birthday of, well, everything.

Modern cosmologists, of course, have reached a different conclusion, dating the Big Bang to about 13.7 billion years ago.

(PHOTOS: Left, HST/NASA. Right, James Ussher) 

Posted by Frank Roylance at 12:05 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: From the Sun's print edition, Sky Notes


Glad we survived the rapture yesterday so we could all enjoy today's anniverary of the when it all began.

When religious belief meets up with scientific knowledge, this is what you get.

@ Larry
I thought this is what happens when religion pretends to be science.

How did creation start at nightfall, when night and day hadn't been separated yet?

Praise the Lord!!

Really? That's pretty arbitrary. This is why religion is nothing but a joke. Think for yourselves, kids!

FR: Not arbitrary at all. Ussher's calculation involved a tremendous amount of Biblical scholarship. The man was no dummy. And there wasn't much science around in 1650 to support an "13.7-billion-year-old-universe" argument. He may have been wrong, but he wasn't a dope.

Also, we tried to reach Ussher for comment, but all he could say was "Yeah!" and go back to producing music by St. Justin of Bieber...


"And the Earth became without form and void..." which means stuff happened before "[Re-] Creation".

He couldn't know. He was Catholic.

FR: Actually, he was Archbishop of Armagh, the Anglican Church of Ireland.

So a weather man used a history lesson to impart some sort of snark. The book Ussher used has no proof of authorship and has so many inconsistencies as to be useless for anything but the faithful who can ignore the mistakes. I'll stick with radioactive decay as a measure of age over a book written and edited by man.

FR: No snark intended. Just trying to put the man's efforts into the context of his times.

I still enjoy the fact that people who have o scientific background still pretend they think that humans have knowledge of how old something is based on carbon dating. Truthfully our dating is based on what humans think something should be. The truth is that there is no scientific way to date something.

Religion at least has basis for a date. I don't see science coming up with written knowledge from the first humans as to the age of the world. We just sit back and believe what someone made up. Yeah some human came up with how we date things... human.

@Tyler, yes, you put it much better than I did! Well said.

Does Ussher's (or yours) anniversary take into account the Julian/Gregorian transition?

FR: The dates are described as "according to the proleptic Julian Calendar." I'm not sure I've mastered that concept, but I suspect it skews my count of the year's since Ussher's "Creation." I'll let smarter people than I work that out.

We're any of you there? (in the beginning of the world.) no, so any argument any of you have is futile.

FR: I wasn't there during World War II either. But there is plenty of objective evidence that it happened. Nor was I there when Wilbur and Orville got airborne, but I still believe the plane I'm strapped into will fly. If we rejected all the science and learning on which our society is built because we weren't there when events occurred and discoveries were made, we would be in a sorry state.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

Sign up for FREE weather alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for weather text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Maryland Weather Center

Area Weather Stations
Resources and Sun coverage
• Weather news

• Readers' photos

• Data from the The Sun's weather station

• 2011 stargazers' calendar

• Become a backyard astronomer in five simple steps

• Baltimore Weather Archive
Daily airport weather data for Baltimore from 1948 to today

• National Weather Service:
Sterling Forecast Office

• Capital Weather Gang:
Washington Post weather blog

• CoCoRaHS:
Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. Local observations by volunteers

• Weather Bug:
Webcams across the state

• National Data Buoy Center:
Weather and ocean data from bay and ocean buoys

• U.S. Drought Monitor:
Weekly maps of drought conditions in the U.S.

• USGS Earthquake Hazards Program:
Real-time data on earthquakes

• Water data:
From the USGS, Maryland

• National Hurricane Center

• Air Now:
Government site for air quality information

• NWS Climate Prediction Center:
Long-term and seasonal forecasts

• U.S. Climate at a Glance:
NOAA interactive site for past climate data, national, state and city

• Clear Sky Clock:
Clear sky alerts for stargazers


• Hubblesite:
Home page for Hubble Space Telescope

• Heavens Above:
Everything for the backyard stargazer, tailored to your location

• NASA Eclipse Home Page:
Centuries of eclipse predictions

• Cruise Critic: Hurricane Zone:
Check to see how hurricanes may affect your cruise schedule

• Warming World:
NASA explains the science of climate change with articles, videos, “data visualizations,” and space-based imagery.

• What on Earth:
NASA blog on current research at the space agency.
Most Recent Comments
Blog updates
Recent updates to news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected