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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.
Old Earth Creationism is the view that the days of Genesis are long periods of time, rather than literal days. Before I came to Christ, I was an evolutionist. Having that background, I can see that the Old Earth Creationism view is an attempt to make the Bible harmonize with secular science's current view that the earth and the universe are billions of years old. Rather than starting with the plain statements of Scripture and judging modern science by that, the Old Earth Creationism view starts with the theories of evolution, then tries to fit the Bible to the ideas of the scientists, because they are convinced the scientists are right. Starting with the simple, plain statements of the Bible, the Old Earth Creationism does not fit Scripture. 1. "And there was evening and there was morning, the first day" (Gen 1:5 ESV) "And there was evening and there was morning, the second day." (Gen 1:8 ESV) "And there was evening and there was morning, the third day" (Gen 1:13 ESV) "And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day" (Gen 1:19 ESV) "And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day" (Gen 1:23 ESV) "And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day" (Gen 1:31 ESV) How much more plain does God have to be that they were literal 24-hour days? What else does He have to say to let us know that the days were DAYS? 2. When proclaiming the Sabbath to the children of Israel, God said the following: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God... For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exo 20:8-11 KJV) The Sabbath was a literal, 24-hour day. The "seventh day", when God rested, is directly related to a simple, 24-hour day. To say that the seventh day of the creation week was some vast amount of time, would pretty much be saying that God is playing games with the meaning of words without letting us know. No, there was a simple day set up, to commemorate a simple day. 3. The Old Earth Creation view will sometimes bring up the verse: "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2Pe 3:8 KJV) Now, this verse is not talking about creation! It's talking about how is seems so long that we have to put up with this evil world, and wait for when Jesus comes back! And this verse cannot be teaching that any time a "day" is mentioned in Scripture, it means a long period of time--I mean, was Jesus in the grave for a few million years? When Samuel waited for Saul "seven days", was he waiting a few thousand years, or a couple of billion years? No. It just gets silly. The Old Earth Creation view will say, "well, a day is as a thousand years, so those days must have been long periods of time." Well, you can turn the same verse around, and say (this is really silly, just making the point), "A thousand years is as a day! So if you do the math, if a thousand years is a day, that's 1/360,000. So, a "day" is actually 1/360,000 of a day, which is that means that each "day" is actually 0.24 seconds--so the entire creation actually took just 1.44 seconds! And Jesus was actually in the grave 0.72 seconds!" The message of 2 Peter 3:8 would be something like, "God's viewpoint on time is not like ours. Be patient and trust him, because when Jesus said, "I'm coming soon", from God's point of view that could be thousands of years or just a few moments. Don't doubt Him just because your idea of "soon" and God's idea of "soon" are different." 4. The Bible has a specific list of years people lived, years kings reigned, going all the way back to Adam. Count them up...the earth is appx. 6000 years old. 5. There was no death before Adam sinned (Rom 5:12).
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