In Six Days

Evolutionists assert that Earth is billions of years old, so we expect some to try to interpret Scripture to accommodate an old earth. How might they do so?

Primarily by allegorizing the Creation myth and considering the days of Creation to be geologic ages, making each day as long as we like.  The general pattern of a lifeless earth (Day 1), then plants (Day 3), followed by sea creatures (Day 5), land animals and finally Man (Day 6) seems to more or less follow evolutionary sequence. It’s called the Day-Age Theory.

Obvious problems include the fact that the planet itself is created before light (Day 1), Earth, light and plants (Days 1-3) all appear before the sun, moon and stars (Day 4), birds (Day 5) come before all land animals (Day 6), and God blessing the 7th Day to start an ongoing 7-day rest cycle based on Him completing Creation in 6 days. (Ex 20:11)

Further, Adam is said to be the very first man (1Co 15:45) and his life-span is stated explicitly (Ge 5:5), along with those of all the antediluvian patriarchs (8-30) in the lineage of Christ (Lk 3:36-38), placing Creation around 4000 BCE.

So, to be consistent, we can’t simply allegorize the Creation account in isolation, we end up corrupting the integrity of Scripture throughout; its authors evidently understood the Creation account literally: if they were mistaken, they weren’t inspired. If the Day-Age Theory had any real basis in scripture, it’s difficult to explain why it appeared so late in history, only in the last 200 years. The interpretation thus appears forced in order to accommodate recent, opposing scientific claims.

Another approach, the Gap-Theory, allows for a literal interpretation of the Creation account, yet postulates a large gap between the first two verses; between the creation of the planet (Ge 1:1) and it being found formless and void. (2) This view harmonizes nicely with most scripture while providing for any age of the earth we like. However, it’s also inconsistent with the Sabbath Command (Ex 20:11), and begs the question of whether an old planet with no light or atmosphere, no sun or moon or stars, or any life form whatever as we know it, helps much to square the Word with evolutionary claims. What’s the point then?

We all choose an authority for determining what’s true, and if we earnestly want to know the truth we should insist on having no contradictions in our world view, no inconsistencies. If we accept God’s Word as Truth, in it’s entirety (Ps 119:160), then we must try to interpret it consistently, and discount unverified scientific claims, such as evolution, which contradict it. (1Ti 6:20-21)

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5 thoughts on “In Six Days”

  1. Hope to see more like this. Possibly, musings like this are more important for believers. Unbelievers will not believe though someone rose from the dead. ONLY ONE can grant increase. Your last paragraph solid in truth.

  2. Tim: “When did theories of an earth millions of years old first appear in history?”

    ChatGPT: “Theories of an Earth millions of years old began to appear prominently in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Prior to this period, the dominant view in the Western world, influenced heavily by religious texts such as the Bible, was that the Earth was only a few thousand years old.

    Key Historical Developments:
    James Hutton (1726–1797):

    Often considered the “father of modern geology,” Hutton proposed the idea of deep time in his work, “Theory of the Earth” (1788). He introduced the concept of uniformitarianism, suggesting that the Earth’s features were shaped by continuous and uniform processes over a vast amount of time. Hutton argued that the Earth was much older than the commonly accepted age at that time, stating that it had “no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.”
    Charles Lyell (1797–1875):

    Lyell built upon Hutton’s ideas and popularized them in his seminal work, “Principles of Geology” (1830-1833). He strongly advocated for uniformitarianism, emphasizing that geological processes observed in the present were the same as those in the past and operated over immense periods. Lyell’s work further cemented the idea of an ancient Earth and was highly influential in the scientific community.
    Early Theories and Contributions:

    Prior to Hutton and Lyell, some early thinkers had speculated about a much older Earth. For instance, in the 17th century, the Danish scientist Nicolas Steno laid foundational principles of stratigraphy, which would later support arguments for an ancient Earth.
    Additionally, natural philosophers like Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, conducted experiments in the mid-18th century suggesting that the Earth could be tens of thousands or even millions of years old based on cooling rates of iron spheres.
    These developments marked a significant shift from earlier views and laid the groundwork for the acceptance of an Earth with a deep geological history, spanning millions and eventually billions of years.”

  3. An interesting argument against a young earth is Adam’s naming of the animals (Ge 2:20): the claim is such activity does not allow for a 24-hour 6th day: it simply takes too much time.

    Debates on this topic evidently presume God brought the animals to Adam one by one, rather than all at once or in very large groups, such that Adam could inspect them at a distance from a convenient vantage point.

    They also evidently overlook the fact that Adam, created without flaw, may have been extremely intelligent, having a photographic mind capable of analyzing vast quantities of data very quickly, and extremely sharp eyesight (better than 20/8).

    Challenging these basic assumptions, I see no reason to require more than an hour for the entire process.

  4. Here is ChatGPTs summary of key attempts to reconcile Genesis 1 with old-earth theories. The Common Elements summary below notes that each abandons a literal interpretation of Scripture, making them incompatible with a proper biblical hermeneutic simply to accommodate evolutionary theory, which has now been thoroughly scientifically debunked.

    ChatGPT: “Interpreting Genesis 1 consistently with an old Earth involves understanding the biblical text in ways that accommodate the scientific evidence for the Earth’s age. Here are some key approaches:

    1. Day-Age Interpretation:
    Concept: The “days” in Genesis 1 are not literal 24-hour days but long periods or ages.
    Support: The Hebrew word for “day” (yom) can mean a period of time, such as in Genesis 2:4 where it refers to the entire creation process. This allows for each “day” to represent a significant era in Earth’s history.
    2. Framework Hypothesis:
    Concept: Genesis 1 is not a chronological account but a literary framework to describe God’s creation activity in a structured manner.
    Support: This view sees the creation week as a poetic structure with two sets of three days: the first set establishing realms (light and darkness, sky and waters, land), and the second set populating these realms (sun, moon, and stars; birds and fish; land animals and humans).
    3. Analogical Days:
    Concept: The days in Genesis 1 are God’s workdays, analogous to human workdays but not necessarily of the same length.
    Support: This interpretation emphasizes the analogy between God’s creative activity and human work without requiring the days to be 24-hour periods. It underscores the pattern of work and rest as a model for human behavior.
    4. Gap Theory (Restitution Theory):
    Concept: There is a temporal gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, allowing for an old Earth.
    Support: This theory suggests that the initial creation (Genesis 1:1) occurred long before the “days” of creation, which could have been a re-creation or reordering of an already ancient Earth.
    5. Functional Creation:
    Concept: Genesis 1 focuses on the assignment of functions rather than the material origins of the universe.
    Support: Proposed by scholars like John Walton, this interpretation suggests that the text describes God assigning roles and purposes to creation elements (light, sky, land) rather than detailing how they materially came into being. This aligns with an ancient Earth as it does not conflict with scientific accounts of material origins.
    6. Historical Creationism:
    Concept: Genesis 1 describes God’s preparation of the Promised Land for human habitation rather than a universal creation narrative.
    Support: This view posits that the “land” mentioned is specific to the region intended for human civilization, allowing for a non-literal interpretation of the days and accommodating an old Earth.
    7. Theistic Evolution (Evolutionary Creationism):
    Concept: God used evolutionary processes to create life over billions of years.
    Support: This perspective sees the Genesis account as theological and allegorical, emphasizing God’s sovereignty over the process of evolution. It harmonizes the biblical narrative with the scientific understanding of an old Earth and the development of life.

    Common Elements Across Interpretations:
    Non-Literal Reading: These interpretations often move away from a strict literal reading of the Genesis days.
    Contextual Understanding: Emphasizing the cultural and literary context of the ancient Near East.
    Integration of Science and Faith: Finding ways to integrate scientific evidence with theological insights.

    Each of these interpretations provides a way to reconcile the biblical text of Genesis 1 with the scientific understanding that the Earth is billions of years old, highlighting different aspects of the text’s meaning and purpose.

  5. Claiming scientific evidence affirms an old earth presumes God didn’t create the earth with the appearance of age: Earth appeared to be old just after it was created.

    Here is ChatGPT’s summary of the debate:
    (My comments below in parenthesis.)

    Tim: “How would proponents of an old earth address the objection that God created the earth with the appearance of age, such that extrapolating backwards in time cannot certainly determine the age of the earth?”

    ChatGPT: “Proponents of an old Earth who address the objection that God created the Earth with the appearance of age typically present several counterarguments to support their view. Here are key points they might use:

    1. Consistency with God’s Nature:
    Argument: God’s nature as truthful and not deceptive is central to many theological traditions. Creating the Earth with the appearance of age could be seen as misleading, which is inconsistent with the character of God as described in the Bible.
    Support: Biblical passages such as Titus 1:2, which speaks of God not lying, and Psalm 19:1-4, which emphasizes that the heavens declare the glory of God, are used to argue that the natural world should reliably reflect God’s truth.
    (This is a non-sequitur: when God created Adam as an adult He was not lying about his age. Creating Earth with a stable equilibrium and ecosystem which looked aged can be viewed as brilliance rather than deception.)

    2. Integrity of Scientific Inquiry:
    Argument: Science relies on the consistency and reliability of natural laws. If the Earth were created with the appearance of age, it would undermine the foundational principles of scientific investigation.
    Support: Many old Earth proponents hold that God endowed creation with order and consistency, allowing humans to explore and understand it through scientific means. This view is often supported by Romans 1:20, which suggests that God’s attributes are clearly seen in creation.
    (This is a non-sequitur: this is only a problem if scientific law precludes miracles a priori, as an axiom, but this is unnecessary for scientific inquiry)

    3. Biblical Interpretation:
    Argument: The Bible can be interpreted in ways that harmonize with an old Earth without compromising its theological truths.
    Support: As previously mentioned, interpretations such as the Day-Age Theory, Framework Hypothesis, and others allow for an understanding of Genesis that accommodates an ancient Earth. This suggests that a literalist reading is not the only valid approach to the biblical text.
    (This is a non-sequitur: the fact that the bible may be interpreted allegorically is irrelevant: this hermeneutic is inconsistent with the scripture itself.)

    4. Historical Context and Genre:
    Argument: Genesis 1-2 should be understood within its historical and literary context, often viewed as ancient Near Eastern cosmology rather than a scientific account.
    Support: Recognizing Genesis as a theological and symbolic narrative rather than a literal scientific report can reconcile the biblical text with the evidence for an old Earth. This approach respects the genre and intention of the biblical authors.
    (This is a non-sequitur: same as point 3)

    5. Evidence of an Old Earth:
    Argument: The overwhelming scientific evidence for an old Earth—from geology, astronomy, and other fields—points to a consistent history that is difficult to explain under the appearance of age hypothesis.
    Support: The detailed records of radioactive decay, the fossil record, the formation of geological strata, and the light from distant stars all suggest a universe that is billions of years old. These lines of evidence converge to support the conclusion of an ancient Earth.
    (This is a non-sequitur: God creating the universe with the appearance of age is consistent with it appearing to be the same age from many different perspectives.)

    6. Philosophical and Theological Concerns:
    Argument: The appearance of age hypothesis raises difficult philosophical and theological questions about the nature of reality and truth.
    Support: If God created the world with apparent age, it could call into question the reliability of empirical evidence and the integrity of God’s revelation through nature. This could lead to a form of skepticism that is not typically supported by the broader Christian tradition.
    (This is a non-sequitur: same as point 2)

    Proponents of an old Earth address the appearance of age objection by emphasizing God’s truthfulness, the integrity of scientific inquiry, appropriate biblical interpretation, and the convergence of multiple lines of scientific evidence. They argue that an old Earth view is consistent with both scripture and the natural world, providing a coherent and integrated understanding of creation.”

    Tim: “How would you summarize the appearance-of-age argument by young earth proponents?”

    ChatGPT: “The appearance-of-age argument by young Earth proponents can be summarized as follows:

    Summary of the Appearance-of-Age Argument:
    God’s Creative Power:

    Concept: God, as the omnipotent Creator, has the ability to create the Earth with the appearance of age. Just as Adam and Eve were created as mature adults, the Earth and universe could have been created in a mature state, complete with features that suggest a long history.
    Immediate Functionality:

    Concept: For the Earth to be immediately habitable and functional, it needed to be created with the appearance of age. This includes mature trees, fully formed ecosystems, and geological formations that support life from the start.
    Biblical Consistency:

    Concept: This perspective aligns with a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account, where God creates the world in six 24-hour days. The appearance-of-age argument allows for a young Earth (thousands of years old) while explaining why scientific evidence might suggest an older Earth.
    Purposeful Creation:

    Concept: God might have created the Earth with the appearance of age for reasons beyond human understanding. This could include testing faith or demonstrating His power and sovereignty over creation.
    Key Points of the Argument:
    Miraculous Creation: Just as Jesus performed miracles (e.g., turning water into wine instantaneously), God could create a mature Earth instantaneously.
    Historical Precedent: The creation of mature forms (Adam, Eve, fully grown plants) in the biblical narrative supports the idea that other aspects of creation could also appear mature.
    Interpretation of Scientific Evidence: The scientific methods used to date the Earth are seen as interpreting evidence within a framework that assumes natural processes have always operated as they do now. If God created the Earth with an appearance of age, these methods would naturally yield old dates.
    Objections to the Argument:
    Proponents of the appearance-of-age argument acknowledge objections, such as the potential theological implications of God creating a world that appears deceptive, but they often maintain that faith in the biblical narrative takes precedence over empirical evidence interpreted through a naturalistic framework.

    Overall, the appearance-of-age argument maintains a literal reading of the Genesis creation account while offering an explanation for why the Earth and universe seem much older than a straightforward reading of the Bible would suggest.

    Tim: “How is the 5th point raised by old-earth proponents an objection to the appearance-of-age theory since it is simply an assertion that the earth appears to be old, which the appearance-of-age theory admits?”

    ChatGPT: “The 5th point raised by old-earth proponents—that the overwhelming scientific evidence supports an old Earth—serves as more than just an assertion that the Earth appears old. It highlights the depth and consistency of the evidence across multiple scientific disciplines, which raises significant objections to the appearance-of-age theory. Here’s how it functions as an objection:

    Depth and Consistency of Evidence:
    Multiple Independent Lines of Evidence:

    Argument: The evidence for an old Earth comes from a wide range of independent scientific fields, including geology, astronomy, physics, and biology. These diverse sources converge on the conclusion that the Earth is billions of years old.
    Objection to Appearance-of-Age: The appearance-of-age theory would need to account for why all these independent lines of evidence consistently point to an old Earth. This suggests a level of detailed and widespread appearance that could be seen as deceptive, which raises theological and philosophical concerns about the nature of God’s revelation through creation.
    (This is a non-sequitur: answered above in argument #5)

    Detailed Geological Records:
    Argument: Geological formations, such as sedimentary layers, radiometric dating, and the fossil record, provide detailed and consistent timelines that span millions to billions of years.
    Objection to Appearance-of-Age: The complexity and specificity of geological records would imply that God created not just an appearance of age, but an appearance of a detailed history, including specific events that never actually occurred.
    (This is likely also a non-sequitur: those interpreting the evidence generally do not allow for a young earth and either make assumptions to align the evidence with their world view or ignore the evidence: this has been demonstrated in areas such as Global Flood research)

    Astronomical Evidence:
    Argument: The light from distant stars and galaxies takes millions to billions of years to reach Earth, implying that the universe is much older than a few thousand years.
    Objection to Appearance-of-Age: If the universe were created with light in transit, it would mean that we are observing events and celestial bodies that never existed or happened, which again raises issues about the integrity of observable reality.
    (This is a non-sequitur: same as initial point #2 of the argument)

    Philosophical and Theological Implications:

    Nature of God’s Revelation:
    Argument: According to many theological perspectives, God’s creation is a form of revelation that is meant to be understood and interpreted reliably by humans.
    Objection to Appearance-of-Age: Creating a world with a detailed and consistent appearance of age could be seen as conflicting with the idea of a truthful God who reveals Himself through nature. It could imply a level of deception that challenges core attributes of God’s character, such as honesty and transparency.
    (This is a non-sequitur: same as initial point #2 of the argument)

    Reliability of Empirical Evidence:
    Argument: Science relies on the assumption that the universe operates consistently and that evidence can be interpreted to reveal true historical events.
    Objection to Appearance-of-Age: If God created the Earth with the appearance of age, it undermines the reliability of empirical evidence and scientific inquiry, potentially leading to a form of skepticism about the natural world.
    (This is a non-sequitur: same as initial point #2 of the argument)

    While the appearance-of-age theory acknowledges that the Earth looks old, the objection from old-earth proponents emphasizes that the consistency and detail of the evidence go beyond mere appearance. It challenges the plausibility of a world created with such a pervasive and intricate illusion of history, suggesting that this might be inconsistent with the nature of God and the reliability of natural revelation. This depth and convergence of evidence make the appearance-of-age theory less tenable to those who integrate both scientific and theological considerations.”

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