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Old earth creationism (OEC) is an umbrella term used to describe biblical creationists who deny that the universe was created within the last 6,000 to 10,000 years over the course of six consecutiv...
Written by a confessed YEC this is a fair and accurate overview of the Old Earth position, but is dangerously uncritical to the point of over-generosity in my view. Most OEC's (eg Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons To Believe) deny the literal truth of a worldwide flood in Noah's day, despite the Lord's own words (eg Luke 17:27) and the warning of 2 Peter 3:5-6. Genesis 1 & 2 give a temporal sequence to creation (hence the use of ordinal numbers "first" to "seventh") in which the earth comes before the sun (as do plants). Exodus 20:11 and 31:17 emphasise that the 6 days of creation + one day of rest are a model for the working week + Sabbath, hence both refer to literal 24 hour periods. The OEC position starts, sadly, with the "facts" of secular science rather than with inspired scripture. It therefore amounts to modern compromise, and is only marginally more worthy of respect than Theistic Evolutionism. Whilst I agree it is not a salvation issue YEC's must not be equivocal - our OEC brothers and sisters will one day have to give an account at Christ's judgment seat of why they preferred to put their trust in fallible scientists rather in His inspired word. [For anyone interested I would heartily recommend the 2008 book "Old Earth Creationism On Trial - The Verdict Is In" by Tim Chaffey & Dr. Jason Lisle.]
As others have said, Old Earth Creationism is the belief that God created 'everything' over a much longer period than the six standard days. There is, however, view that is literal to the Scripture. It is my belief that the Bible states that the universe was created at some time in the past, and not as a part of the six creation days. It is obvious that the universe, including the Earth, was created before God's Spirit hovered over the waters, otherwise, that could not have happened. If we look at Genesis chapter one, it starts with a stand-alone statement, a finite one, that: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth." Looking at the context and the Hebrew grammar, this statement is separate to the following verse. The YLT Bible, that sought to preserve the original Hebrew grammar, reads slightly differently to other versions, the first two verses of Genesis is translated as: "In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth -- 2 the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters," This clearly shows that the Earth has existed for some time before God's Spirit visited the planet. So yes 'Old Earth Creationism' involves a longer time-span between God's creation of matter, and hence time and space, and His 'preparing' of the Earth for us, which took fully the six, twenty-four-hour days. How long it existed between the creation of the universe and the visitation, we don't know.
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