This is the key here, which many successive comments seem to be running right past without engaging. I have also seen it referred to as a distinction between necessary appearance of age and unnecessary appearance of age, or as I like to say it, the difference between appearance of age and appearance of story. Whatever makes it click for you. It’s the difference between adult trees being created with ten identically wide rings and adult trees being created with ten variable width rings, all of which have a third ring twice as wide as the average of the others, along with the four rivers of Eden all having ten layers of sediment at their mouths with the third one being twice as deep as the average of the others, all suggesting a built-in history with actually deducible precipitation levels. (This is essentially what lake varves and ice cores are, though technically rather with regards to a history of temperatures and atmospheric element ratios.)
I also want to add that for Christians this does not have to be theologically devastating, as it once threatened to be for me.
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Proverbs 25:2)
When I read earlier geologists saying that they could tell the earth was old but we might never be able to quantify it, not knowing we would discover radioactivity, or when I see how much we would not be able to discover about relative sedimentary layers if the rare process of fossilization did not happen to exist, or when I read about the time-telling of paleomagnetism, to me all it is wonderfully marvelous that we can even uncover this deep story at all, and to me it is telling of a God who is not a deceiver, but rather someone who wants us to discover it all.