Genesis 1:1 - 31
ESV - 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
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While I believe this is a secondary, non salvation issue, I do believe far too many new creations who love the Lord Jesus Christ are ridiculed for having a different perspective than young earth creationism. Knowing Him is far more important than knowing how long He spent creating the universe. I hold the older view for the following, biblical reasons. Genesis 1:1-2 does not specify a time frame and is in the past tense, which changes to present tense in verse three. This means, that verses one and two happen before verses three and following. I find it impossible to put any time value in those two verses. Rather it is simply stated as fact. God created the heavens and the earth. When? In the beginning, whenever that was. Next, the very first use of the word day is not a 24 hour day (Gen 1:5), by very definition. It is also a sound biblical hermeneutic that the first use of a word, is extremely important in how it is understood. Consider the context of this verse and usage within the rest of the Bible. Similar to the first use of 'echad'. The word day is also used in a handful of different ways from Gen 1:5-2:4, suggesting at the very least that this is a very, very sophisticated text. For example, we already stated above it is used as the 12 hour period of light in a solar day. Then it is used as compound of day and night. Also, in the 6th and 7th day there is use of the direct article, 'the sixth day', 'the seventh day' where this is not included in the others, they simply read day one, day two etc. Signifying something rather important. In Gen 2:4 we see the use 'in the day', which actually necessitates a non-24 hour day. Finally, there is no 'evening and morning' for day 7, so here is at least one day of the creation 'week' that has yet to end. So in the 31 verses from Gen 1:5 to Gen 2:4, the word day is used in 5 different ways suggesting at the least, extreme literary sophistication and perhaps, cautions against dogmatic assertions. Now, assume they are 24 hour days, as I know there is also a good amount of scriptural evidence for. If I may say it bluntly, it doesn't take God very long to speak now does it? The important thing to me is the days are marked by 'and God said'. This is critical to me personally because in the text you don't go from nothing to something without 'and God said' (parallel John 1:3 with Gen 1:1). And you don't get from inorganic matter to organic matter without 'and God said' (day 3, Gen 1:11). And you don't get from organic matter to animal life without 'and God said' (day 5, Gen 1:20) and you don't get from animal life to human life without 'and God said' (day 6, Gen 1:26). As a parallel note, research cymatics. As far as I am concerned, how long it takes for the fulfillment of that word going forth to come to fulfillment is not relevant nor do I think the text actually demands this to fulfill in the 24 hour period. My point here is God said it, and therefore it will be, and it is done, sure, complete the moment He says it, even if it takes an age to be brought to completion, because not one of His words fail (Isa 55:11; Jer 1:12). Each day of creation in particular starts when God speaks, and no sooner. This view, no matter how long or short, whether billions, trillions or any amount of years, or six days, is not compatible with macro-evolution because there is guided input, 'and God said' which is not part of the evolutionary theory. I take it all quite literally. Could it be six literal days sometime in the distant past? Yes. Does it 'have to be', no. Not in a long shot and we would do much better as the body of Christ, united together in the Spirit for His glory through the death, burial and resurrection of our messiah, Jesus, to proclaim not that creation is six days 6,000 years ago, but rather the gospel of His Son and at His appearing, the coming irreversible, final judgment on all men and the full realization of His glorious Kingdom.
Many believe that the earth is billion-years old based entirely on the carbon dating method. William James, the father of modern psychology, said, “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” If one thinks the Genesis account of creation is a fairy tale, try Darwin’s theory of evolution - believing in evolution requires far more faith than believing in creationism. The theory of evolution is based on huge assumptions about things that happened in distant past and rests on questionable carbon dating, a method used to date dead plants and animals. Plants and animals contain the same ratio of two types of carbon, 14C and 12C. When an organism dies, 14C begins disintegrating while 12C levels remain constant. Thus, measuring the 14C/12C ratio in a dead plant makes it possible to estimate how long ago the plant died. But to precisely determine the plant’s age, two questions must be answered: How fast does 14C decay and how much 14C did the organism contain when it died? In answer to the 1st question, 14C has a half-life of 5,700 years. A half-life is the amount of time required for 1/2 of the carbon atoms in a sample to decay. To answer the 2nd question, scientists made an huge assumption that the atmosphere’s 14C/12C ratio has remained constant throughout earth’s history. If so, they argue accurate dating is possible up to 80,000 years - after that the amount of 14C is too small to measure. But if this assumption cannot be demonstrated, any dates calculated by this method cannot be trusted. Willard Libby, the developer of carbon dating, drew his conclusions based on the assumption that the earth was millions of years old. He calculated that it would take about 30,000 years for an atmosphere’s 14C/12C ratio to reach equilibrium. When he discovered that earth’s ratio was not in equilibrium, meaning it must be younger than 30,000 years, he dismissed it as an experimental error. Scientists don’t know how old the earth is because they don’t know and can’t observe what has happened in the past, or how the environmental factors have changed. Amazingly, an entire religion has been established on these dubious assumptions. It seems strange then that evolutionists ridicule the faith of Christians.
The answer to this question is very simple and can be summed up by the quote given by Professor Richard Lewontin of the Biology and Zoology Department at Harvard University in which he says basically that, "We (i.e. scientists) cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door," despite "the patent absurdity of some of the constructs." In short, God cannot be factored into their theories, however ridiculous they may sound. For example one of their theories is that evolution can explain how microbes turn into mice then monkeys and eventually man. However, evolution cannot work in that way because, in biology, living organisms die because they lose DNA information through mutations and do not gain it. Also lack of transition fossils from one animal kind (eg reptiles) to another (eg birds) are absent in nature negating the evolutionary story. The presence of carbon-14 radioisotope (half life 5,700 years) in biological specimens including diamonds and oil suggest that these are thousands and not millions/billions of years old. Also the presence of blood cells and protein in T Rex suggest that they were here hundreds and not 65 million years old. Rock sedimentation around the world are suggestive of a Noahic world wide flood. In short, many do not want to invoke God in the creation of our world and universe and so they call the Bible myth or fable and come up with unrealistic theories involving millions of years. That is they want to live their lives without accountability to our creator God, Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear that the earth/universe is about 6,000 years old and what we find in science is consistent with this.
Why do so many people believe the earth is older than the Bible says? As has been previously stated, the Bible doesn’t place an age on the Heavens and Earth. (Genesis 1:1) From a geologic point of view, a preponderance of evidence pertaining to earth history points unequivocally to an ancient earth. That this assessment agrees perfectly with the 1st Chapter of Genesis taken from an earth-bound perspective is shown as follows: Day 1 - About 4.5 billion years ago, the earth’s surface was completely covered by water and darkness. At this time, cellar life in the water was already being cared for by the Holy Spirit. Light appeared when the earth’s primary atmosphere transitioned from opaque to translucent which was completed about 3.7 billion years ago (bya). At this time it became apparent to an earthly observer that the earth was spinning through a day/night cycle. (Genesis 1:2-5) Day 2 - As the atmosphere became more transparent, the earth’s surface warmed and started the Hydrologic cycle of clouds and rain. The rain continued to clear the atmosphere until there was a noted expanse which developed between the water below and the water filled clouds above. God called the expanse “sky” about 2.9 (bya). (Genesis 1:6-8) Day 3 - All during the time preceding, underwater continents were in the process of being built by the process of Plate Tectonics due to the development of the earth’s core. When the earth’s core was fully molded, the earth’s configuration became similar to the present day. This resulted in the development of the earth’s ocean basins with the fully formed content becoming exposed as the waters drained away into the abyssal depths. This process was completed about 2.8 bya (Genesis 1:9-10) The exposed “dry land” became populated with oxygen producing plants of all kinds. By about 1.2 bya much of the CO2 haze in the atmosphere had been replaced with Oxygen which set the stage for creative day 4. (Genesis 1:11-13) Day 4 – By about 1.2 bya to about 540 million years ago (mya), the earth’s atmosphere had transitioned from being translucent to being transparent. From an earth’s perspective, the heavens became fully visible as we see them today. The water-cloud layer produced on Creative Day 2 was completely gone. You will notice that the sun, moon and stars were positioned in the “sky” which was originally below the water-cloud layer. (Genesis 1:7-8; 1:14-19) Day 5 – About 540 mya the “Cambrian Explosion” occurred mainly in the sea. (Genesis 1:20) More than 70 phylum (body types) came into existence in an instant of geological time. Roughly, of the 70 original animal phylum, only about 29 exist today. The remainder have long gone extinct and make up a large portion of the post-Cambrian geologic record. It should be noted that a large majority of all the living creatures that had existed on the earth went extinct long before Adam and Eve were created. Later, toward the end of this period, birds were also created. (Genesis 1:21) They didn’t evolve from Dinosaurs as some biologists assert. They were uniquely created by God. It should be noted that this is one of three places that speak of God actually creating things. The rest of the activities speak of God “making” things out of preexisting materials. (Genesis 1:1; 1:21; 1:27) Day 6 -- It is estimated that about 231 mya terrestrial (land) animals had become established on a single massive continent called Pangaea. Then, at the end of Creative Day 6, Adam and Eve were created. (Genesis 1:27) The evidence would indicate that they were created after Pangea had already broken up and dispersed to about the present location of the continents. So I hope this answers the question why so many people believe the earth is old. For more information see my Website: http://www.sourcewb.com/Chapters/Ch-8/Ch-8.htm
Carbon 12 dating does work but once we went into space and proved that carbon 12 vs. 14 was not in equilibrium and then used in Willard Libby's equation using non-equilibrium the tests then showed everything to be less than 12,000 years old! Hooray for science. I've always been displeased my "science" teachers in school taught the party line but failed to teach science as it is. There are myriad facts that discredit macro evolution and old earth theory but you have to listen to an honest scientist about the claims and not one just promoting what was in his textbooks that are not scientific. Yes. We have inaccuracies in our books in school.
I think that there is a false comparison when the choices are young earth creationism vs. Evolution. The proper contrast is between young earth and old earth creationism. It is entirely possible to believe in an old earth and a universe that is ancient in the extreme without positing Darwinian evolution. In an odd way, the question is similar to the child's question, "did Adam have a belly-button?" Adam was created by God, so we would not expect a navel, the remnant of an umbilicus. However, God could have created Adam with a belly button, thereby creating a man who would look like his descendants. Young earth creationists often assert a belief in apparent age... God created a world that is quite young, although appearing in some ways to be ancient in the extreme. This is a possible answer to the geological evidence of lengthy erosion patterns, or even signs of continental drift. For me, the question is not could God have created such a world? He could! The question is why would he? Apparent age muddies the testimony of natural revelation. A world that appears ancient, but is in fact young is a complicated testimony. There is a simplicity to the gospel - the special revelation of God. It seems reasonable to expect that natural revelation would contain the same simplicity, given the fact that God's purpose is to draw us to himself, not to erect a roadblock or create a puzzle. Many, like myself are old earth creationists because we believe that this view can be maintained with a high view of scripture and that this view best fits the broader corpus of natural revelation. I believe that a belief in an actual and historical Adam and Eve is a non-negotiable. They are described in the same manner as other real persons in the Bible. Old earth creationists who hold to a high view of biblical authority do assert that the Genesis account is more than a narrative, it is a historical record.
Ruth, Before anyone can really answer this question for you, simply by asking it you have created an obligation to prove that the Bible actually says the earth is a certain age and you have not. I can proceed on certain assumptions as to what makes you believe the Bible actually states the age of the earth because the belief is so widely prevalent, and so very dependent upon certain texts while ignoring others that tend to disprove the most common teaching on the subject. First, let's look at the idea that the earth can be dated by chronological studies of scripture. There are problems with this if you intend to study the matter only from scripture. We can accurately date things in scripture from Adam to Joseph, then there are gaps that require that we go to sources outside of scripture which provide further accurate dating to the time Israel crossed the Jordan and conquered the Promised Land. This gap after Joseph means that we can date nothing from scripture, so the Bible does not say. Looking at sources outside scripture we can accurately date backward from Jesus to the coronation of Saul (provided you "correct" 1 Sa 13:1, otherwise we can only date to David's coronation.) However, because of some co-regencies which are not clearly spelled out in scripture, we find discrepancies between chronologies in various books which throw the whole matter into doubt. If you are aware of 1 Kg 6:1 you can connect the exodus across a gap that cannot be dated any other way, but the Bible still remains silent about the time between Joseph and the exodus, so we cannot yet get back to creation. Because of the 490 year prophecy of Daniel 9 we can get close but not precise as to the timing of these other events in relationship to Jesus life and ministry. To have any precision at all one must look at sources outside the Bible to come up with an accurate chronology of events, so the Bible does not at all tell us how old the earth is. This is why most scholars simply make the claim of somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 years back to Adam. We can be much more precise than that, but it only takes us to Adam, not to Gen 1:1; there is a difference. Nor is Gen 1:1 necessarily the beginning. I have been told by a source I trust that b're'shiyth does not mean, "in the beginning," but actually means, "in it's present form." I have never been able to verify this, but it is necessary to be aware that this scholarship is out there and is taught by some. Furthermore, there is biblical evidence for the idea this interpretation conveys; even Gen 1:2 shows the spirit of God hovering over something that is already in existence. God created something that was later transformed into earth as we know it. Even the darkness was already here in Gen 1:2, and Isa 45:7 tells us that God created darkness. God created everything that has been made, and nothing exists that he did not make (Jn 1:3). Gen 1:2 mentions darkness and the deep, whether that deep is water over the entire surface of the planet or is the fabric of deep space itself really doesn't matter. Something was already here and had been created sometime before. God only knows how long before, but what we can be certain about from the biblical record is that the seven days of creation did not include all creation, and perhaps did not even include the earth itself. So even if we can accurately determine Adam's existence at 5777 years ago by the Hillel Calendar, or 5911 years ago by the best scholarship I have seen recently, this still does not give a date for the creation of the earth in its original form, whatever that was, and whatever was on it. So can you please provide your biblical proof of whatever dating you claim the Bible gives for this event? It is the only way anyone can give you an intelligent answer to the question you asked.
Here's something to think about. Is it possible for the earth to appear older than it really is? We know the Bible tells us God Can Make Old things new. When the new born believer accepts Jesus Christ as his savior he is a new creature. But did you also realize that God can make something new appear to be older than it really is? In the Book of Genesis it says that God created "man" in his own image. It doesn't say God created a newborn baby. It says he created a man. Adam was a newborn yet he was a grown man. No one knows exactly how old he appeared to be maybe 20-30 even 40 years old but he was actually just created. He was a new creature appearing to be older than he really was. Secondly, when Jesus turned water into wine he had his disciples draw up new fresh water. When the Master of the Feast tasted the water that was made wine he raved about it and asked why it was not brought out first because it was customary to bring out the "good" wine first. Well if you know anything about wine the older the wine the better it is. So the good wine would have been older then say a freshly made bottle of wine. Thus the wine appeared and tasted older than it really was even though it was just made. So with this said our Earth may appear to be millions of years old but With God all things are possible and it may only really be thousands of years old.
To know discuss or argue on the age of Earth according to Bible let us first understand the context of period calculated for a day or a month or year! We human beings see things as we are and interpret them as we experience. Let us take the example of a bacteria or virus. I have leaned from science that there are some bacteria or virus that live just a few hours but can multiply themselves by reproduction in millions during their life time! Let us ask the question how does that bacteria interpret a day in their life? Naturally we can't know its calculations, Since a bacteria will interpret its one day in its own way! Then how can we interpret God's day from our little mortal minds? Possibly God tried his creation in the beginning in a way only known to him and also for a length of time only known to him which can not be measured or comprehended by our minds. What we know is that ultimately He created human beings as male and female in his own image and likeness and He fell in love with them! He loved the human race so much that he himself was born in one of such human beings physically, lived, taught and sacrificed his life for redeeming the human race from the sin, ignorance and illusion to be born again spiritually to live with him in a different form eternally! Time and again he promised to all mankind to be present in their hearts spiritually while they are still on earth in the form of Holy Spirit his eternal form. The faith in this truth cannot be reasoned and if it is reasoned then it cannot be faith. But we know, He said, by faith and love alone one can have eternal happiness, salvation and answer to every question. Summing up I can say that the Earth has its own age measured by God's yardstick and our human minds have our own limitations of perception, understanding, and interpretation. Answering now to the question "why do People think that the earth is much older than the bible says" is in my opinion that people believe in what they see and experience and then derive their conclusion to believe in the things even they don't see. In Jesus time many people including his disciples and followers, barring some stubborn Jewish Leaders, believed in Jesus after seeing the acts and miracles he did and the thoughts he shared, Then they also believed in the things they really did not understand for they had a unshakable faith in him that he will only tell the things which are true and trustworthy for they had seen nothing wrong in the actions he had performed including the miracles. coming to the Scientists in today's age people have found that the scientists have found answers to the questions which were earlier unsolved, medicines to the sicknesses earlier not known and even exactly predict the future events like storms, rain, earthquake in advance and they have been witnessing in their everyday life. Governments and governing authorities have put these facts for the people to read and the children to study during their education. Great progress has been made in technology for all aspects of life through scientific advancement. So, when the scientists through their carbon level testing methods, as pointed out by one of our participants earlier, and also with other celestial discoveries, the people tend to believe what scientists say must be truthful and just. The common people generally do not look into the loopholes of science and may not have the ability to know what are the weaknesses of even Science or that of the Scientists who give such theories and present them to the world as facts! The General tendency of people is nothing but to accept it as true and so they tend to think that the Earth must be much older than it is depicted in the Bible.
The question, "Why do so many people believe the earth is older than the Bible says?" makes the assumption that the Bible says the earth is young. But, that assumes the point (a young earth) that is under discussion. In my opinion, the Bible does not address the age of the earth and/or universe. Many evangelical Christians (I happen to be a member of a Southern Baptist church, and also am Charismatic) believe that, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." So, I believe that God created the universe and earth out of nothing, but do not believe that the Bible was written in such a way as to give us details about when and how God began the creation process, or how long it took from the beginning until the creation of man. There is a long history of conflict between Bible-believing Christians and the discoveries of science, going back to Copernicus and Galileo, early pioneers in astronomy who proposed that the earth was not the center of the universe (with the sun and planets in orbit around the earth), but that the earth was orbiting the sun. The church of Galileo's day forced him to recant his teachings and reca ll his writings on the subject. The reason? Because the Catholic Church claimed that the Bible taught that the sun revolves around the earth. Not long after proclaiming this as Biblical truth, the Catholic church faced the embarrassing reality that it was wrong on this issue. The lesson to be learned: don't make proclamations about what the "Bible says" about science. It is important to note also that the practice of modern science is a PROCESS that undergoes constant refinement and change. So, scientists need to practice a bit of humility as well. My training is in geology, but I also have some knowledge of physics and biology, and I can verify that the scientific textbooks in use today are WAY different than those of 50 years ago. In fact, all three of the branches of science that I mentioned are currently in the midst of major new discoveries that will undoubtedly see major changes to what will be taught in the next 10-20 years. Having said that, the process of scientific studies is a progressive one, making changes as new data is found. Yet certain fundamental aspects of these sciences do not change much. The age of the earth and universe is one aspect of science that is not likely to change very much. It is very difficult (and I believe it is impossible) to fit all the events of earth history (not to mention the universe), as currently well defined, into a time frame of less than 10,000 years. Books have been written on this subject by very competent evangelical christian scientists (for example, Alan Hayward and Hugh Ross, to name only two) that clearly and carefully lay out the actual empirical, measurable information supporting an old earth and universe. One final comment related to this question. One of my biggest concerns (as an evangelical christian who also is a university professor) is this. By simply proclaiming the the Bible says the earth is very young (th ousands of years old), and not clearly presenting alternate views of Bible-believing evangelicals, we are setting up a major problem for young people in our churches who will be attending secular colleges and universities. I believe we need to better prepare young Christians to defend their faith by clearly presenting and contrasting the Biblical world view with those out in the real world. And even within our Biblical world view, we should encourage them to try to understand various Christian points of view concerning controversial issues that they will be wrestling with. In summary, many people, including many evangelical Christians who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, believe the earth and universe are billions of years old, and at the same time believe that God created it all out of nothing, and has so designed the creation to provide a special place for the only spiritual/physical beings we know of - man.
I don't know how old earth is. I don't know that it's really all that important to know. It isn't to me. I do know this, in Genesis 1:28 God told Adam and Eve......." Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." To be REPLENSIHED it would have had to be "PLENSIHED" at some point in time. Which means that it is reasonable to conclude that it is older than the 5-7 thousand years most believers think. How much older, I don't know and I don't think it can be known. In Christ
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