October 23, In the Beginning

October 23, In the Beginning


“In the beginning,” the Bible starts out.

When was that beginning, how long ago?

That precise time has been laden with doubt,

When God said, “On your mark, get set, and go!”


Back in sixteen hundred and fifty six,

The Protestant Bishop of Ireland,

Thought, “That is a problem that I can fix,

“When God separated seas from dry land.”


He added up lifespans of famous men:

Adam, Methuselah, page after page,

Added them up and  that tells us just when

The cosmos was born, its Biblical age.


When Bishop James Ussher wrote down what he’d found,

All Christians sang, “Hallelujah!” in praise.

Our scientists doubt his methods were sound.

His data base is a problem they raise.


Science progressed a lot over the years;

The age of the cosmos lengthened apace.

The findings of science dampen the cheers

For Ussher’s findings: his Biblical case. (1)


But, what the hell, give the Bishop his due.

Four thousand four BC, was Earth’s birth year.

So, let’s celebrate, with further ado.

This coming Sunday, let’s all toast and cheer.


  • Bishop James Ussher’s calculation of “The Beginning” was October 23, 4004, BC. This weekend, the Earth and universe would be 6026 years old.  The current scientific estimate of the “date” of the Big Bang is 13.8 billion years ago.  Maybe don’t use your best scotch for the toast.