In an age of visually oriented communications such as TV, movies and the internet, the power of symbols is not lost on content makers such as advertisers and movie producers. This is particularly true when you combine pop icons with these symbols to make a lasting impression. Case in point: diamonds. The point was indelibly etched in the courting rule book when the iconic beauty Marilyn Monroe sang:
Since then, aside from the numerous remakes2 from beauties trying to channel the appeal and success of Marilyn, we’ve had regular reminders that “diamond’s are a girl’s best friend.” They come right around this time of year – in time for the Christmas shopping season, to reminded you that if you really want to express your love to a lady, the proper way to do it is with a diamond. This year it was done with a twist – taking a form of nature documentary and using penguins instead of people3, but the message was the same.
There are multiple lessons for Christians here – aside from the well known fact that advertisers can use beautiful women to sell their wares. They are as follows:
1. God first used signs & symbols, and continues to use them
During the creation week, God said:
And as the children of Israel were about to enter the promised land, God gave them these instructions:
So God was the first to use signs and symbols.4 And of particular interest is his command to his people to have a symbol of his word, his instructions to them for proper living displayed prominently both on their person , and on their houses. This command was fulfilled with the placing of tephillim (Phylacteries in the New Testament (Matt 23.5)) on the wrist and forehead; and a mezuzah on the house. Why? Because what advertisers have learned, God already knew: the power of a constant reminder in the form of a symbol. His purpose is clear: to impress the importance of His word upon His people, God used symbols – the tephillim and mezuzah – which both symbolized his word and contained portions of it.
Another symbol, mentioned briefly in my article Physical Evidence that Jesus Existed, is that of the Chi Rho (the first two Greek letters in “Christ”). History records how God used the symbol to inspire General and soon to be Roman Emperor Constantine to trust in Christ, not the pagan gods on the eve before what would be a decisive battle for the victor. Constantine’s victory at the Mulvian bridge over his rival Maxentius led to Constantine extending his power, allowing him to legalize Christianity in the Roman empire, ending (eventually) the widespread persecution of Christians and setting the stage for accelerated growth of the church.
A final example: Jesus indicated that his return will be preceded or accompanied by “the sign of the Son of Man” (Matt 24.30). Thus signs and symbols have been in use by God to further the faith since the beginning, and continue to be in use. Clearly we have as a precedent God’s own use of signs and symbols in furtherance of the faith.
2. God redeems and claims symbols for his own use
The cross is arguably the most recognized symbol in the world. For Christians it represents Christ’s passion and redemption, hope and eternal life. Even for non-believers it is a well recognized symbol of Christianity. But it was not always that way. The cross is after all an instrument of death. And not just any death, a death of torture – a slow death of literally excruciating pain. (The root of excruciate is crux – meaning cross). The cross was used not only to execute, but to intimidate. In that regard it also excelled because it became one of the most feared forms of execution in the ancient world.
Even so, God took that instrument of death and torture, and turned it into a symbol of hope, and of the true faith. That transformation from sign of intimation and death; to sign of hope for the faithful has not been lost upon historians:
As we’ve seen, God has used signs and symbols in the past and will use them in the future. Perhaps God is also about the business of transforming and redeeming a new symbol for today. With the information provided by modern technology, we can respond to doubters of a young earth saying, we’re not intimidated by your old earth stories; we have evidence of a young earth that’s everywhere.
3. Diamonds – Evidence of a young creation
Diamonds are not only known for their beauty and connection with romance. Conventional wisdom holds that diamonds are also among the oldest rocks to be found. According to Dr. Steven Shirey, a senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism:
If the diamonds are truly that old there shouldn’t be any Carbon 14 (14C) in them, but surprise – like the blood cells found in ’68 million year old’ dinosaur bones7 that should not be there, there is 14C in the diamonds that should not
Radiometric dating uses the assumed fact that radioactive elements decay at a known, steady rate.8 There are a number of radioactive elements used to perform radiometric dating. One of them is the radioactive form of Carbon – 14C which decays into non-radioactive Nitrogen 14 (14N). Radioactive decay is measured in terms of half-life – how long it takes for half of the atoms in a given amount of the parent element (radioactive and unstable) to decay into the daughter element (non-radioactive and stable). For Carbon, the half life is 5730 years, which is relatively short compared to other radioactive materials like Uranium-238 whose half life is 4.47 billion years. The instrument used to measure the radioactive atoms – an “Accelerator Mass Spectrometer” (AMS) can detect 14C atoms to give dates up to about 80,000 years old. Beyond that the amount of remaining 14C is undetectable. Since scientists believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old, carbon dating is usually not used on rocks; methods which involve other radioactive elements that give older dates like uranium or potassium are used.
So after 80,000 years, no Carbon 14 should be detectable. Yet when scientists from the RATE9 group sent diamond samples to an independent lab to determine if any 14C was detectable in the diamonds, they found:
This is quite a significant find because:
4. Diamonds – a Symbol and an Object Lesson
A question on the age of the earth presents a great opportunity to move beyond diamonds being merely a symbol of romance; to being a symbol, evidence and object lesson (as Jesus was so fond of using11) for a young earth, and creation by God. Clearly if the earth is substantially younger than 100,000 years, Darwinian evolution is impossible. A young earth also suggests the universe is young –
So the next time you’re questioned about believing in a young earth, look at someone wearing a diamond and declare, “that diamond she’s wearing is evidence of a young earth, a symbol to remind us of God’s 6 day creation.” Then point the questioner to this article for further explanation.12 Finally, cap it off with the testimony of Jesus:
Jesus spoke about the Creator, not the big bang and lifeless processes.
Duane Caldwell | posted 11/29/2014 | printer friendly format
Radiometric Dating: Science or Guesswork?
1 Clip of Marilyn Monroe performing Diamond’s are a
Girls Best Friend from “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” z2 Remakes have been popular in both the large and small screen; (Burlesque, Moulin Rouge, Glee,
Beyonce’s commercial for Emporio Armani, etc.)3 Penguin Kiss – Kay Jewelers Diamonds Commercial4 For the purists – there is a distinction between signs and
symbols – smoke is a sign of a fire; the red octagon we call a “Stop Sign” is
actually a Stop Symbol. For the purpose of this discussion the main point is that God was first to use both signs and symbols. Though one might adduce
evidence of symbols used before the example given of commands given just after the Exodus, the similarity between signs and symbols and the fact that God used a sign during the creation is sufficient for the point being made here.
5 Daniel Smith-Christopher referenced from Crucifixion, Documentary, History Channel, 2008
6 Tiny Inclusions Reveal Diamond Age and Earth’s History: Research at the Carnegie Institution, Duncan Pay, Jim Shigley, Pedro Padua 1/31/2014,
7 Dinosaur Shocker, Helen Fields May 2006,
8 I say “assumed” because scientists are now finding evidence that under certain conditions the radioactive decay rate is not constant.
9 RATE: Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth a group facilitated by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR)
10 Dr. Jon Baumgardner, Thousands not Billions, Documentary, ICR, 2005
11 A few of Jesus’ object lessons: Matt 6.26; Matt 18.2-3; Luke 13.18-19
12 For answers to objections, or additional detail see Jonathan Sarfati’s article:
See also Dr. John Hartnett’s article: