Ancient Tree Answers Challenge to Genesis One

Ancient Tree Answers Challenge to Genesis One

by Dr. Hugh Ross assisted by Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez

Secularists have openly and vociferously mocked the biblical creation account for placing the origin of “trees, seed, and fruit” as early as the third creation day. Biblical apologists point out that the ancient Hebrew words for “tree,” “seed,” and “fruit” are more broadly defined than we English readers assume as we study our translations.1 Hebrew linguists argue that any large plant containing fiber and producing some kind of food for its embryos would fit the words used in the text. Since such plants date far back in the fossil record, the claim of a contradiction between the biblical record and the scientific record seems questionable at best.

A new discovery provides a clearer and more potent argument on the side of biblical accuracy. The credibility of the third creation day has just become easier to defend. An international team of paleobiologists has determined that an extinct plant, Archaeopteris, matches the definition of “tree.” It produces free spores very similar to the seeds and fruits of today’s trees.2 How old is this early, perhaps the first, tree? It dates back 370 million years, more than a hundred million years before the first dinosaurs.

The findings suggest that Archaeopteris became established worldwide by the late Devonian era (390,000,000 years ago). Thus it supports the accuracy of Genesis 1:11 in describing Day Three events: “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees . . .”

  1. Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1998), p. 39.
  2. Brigitte Meyer-Berthaud, Stephen E. Scheckler, and Jobst Wendt, “Archaeopteris is the Earliest Known Modern Tree,” Nature, 398 (1999), pp. 700-701.