Wayne Grudem and others hold that the earth is old, but I’m unconvinced by their arguments for that position. Most prominent for me are two observations on textual details from Genesis and the way I want to interpret science and archeology from the biblical text rather than re-interpreting the biblical text in light of science and archeology.
1) Whereas the descriptions of days 2–7 in Genesis 1–2 employ Hebrew ordinal numbers (forms ending in hireq-yod), the description of day one employs a cardinal number. Thus, Gen 1:5 can be read, “And there was evening and there was morning, day one.” Taking it this way sets the expectation in the reader’s mind that the “days” referred to in the passage are the kinds of days the readers themselves experience: the kinds that have an evening and a morning (the kinds with 24 hours in them). See further this essay by Andrew Steinmann.
2) I think that the genealogies in Genesis 5 & 11 are interlocked. That is, we’re told how long Adam lived before he begot Seth (Gen 5:3), then how long he lived after he begot Seth (5:4), then how many years Adam had lived when he died (5:5). Then the genealogy doesn’t skip a generation but picks up with the son named, Seth (5:6). This pattern is followed throughout the genealogies in chs. 5 & 11. Following Eugene Merrill’s dates (one day I went through and worked out all the numbers, writing years of birth and death in the margin of my Bible), if Abraham died in 1991 BC, we can work back through the numbers from there. Methuselah and Lamech both died in the year the flood began, 2458, Adam woud beget Seth in year 130 of his life, 3984, and this would seem to indicate that his life began (i.e., he was created) in 4114 BC. Incidentally, according to this chronology, Abraham would be born in 2166 BC, and Noah would be alive until 2108, with Shem outliving Abraham–Abraham dies in 1991 BC, Shem in 1958.
3) These two points that arise from the text lead me to think that the text itself provides this chronology. I’m hesitant to move away from a conclusion that the text leads me to because of conflicting data from science or archeology. William Webb has claimed that if Paul knew what we know about biology, Paul would not say what he says in 1 Cor 11. The archeologists have proposed a different date for the conquest, causing some to attempt reinterpretations of 1 Kings 6:1. And I view the age of the earth as moving in the same stream as these other examples, where information from science and archeology would send us back to the text to reinterpret it to fit what we know from the other disciplines.
So I am skeptical about conclusions derived from science and archeology, and I recognize that I don’t know everything there is to know about Genesis 1, 5, and 11. I grant that I may be misreading the texts, or that something out of the ordinary may be happening with the days and with the long lives, but it looks to me the way I’ve laid it out above. On the basis of what I understand the texts to be saying, I’m happy to be a young-earther.