The Beginning of the Universe: Reconciling 6 Days with 13.7 Billion Years

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Does the Genesis Chapter One account of Creation—specifically state that God created the heavens and the earth in six days?

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Verse 1, simply states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The precise time when the original creation of the universe commenced, is not defined by this text—only that God is the source of all creation, in the beginning.

The original Hebrew reveals what God is saying

When we conduct a serious study in the correct usage of the Hebrew language, we find that Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1 is not written as a collection of verses which describe the original creation of God.

The sentence, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” is an ending to God’s description of the creation of the universe. If it was intended as a part of God’s summary of the entire creation, then the second verse—”The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”—would have been the beginning of the description of this creation. It is not. Verse 2 is a completely separate and distinct subject.

We see a clear example of this in Genesis Chapter 5:

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

Notice that the first verse of Genesis 5, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam,” is immediately followed by the connecting words: “In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.” Notice that the second verse does not give us any details of the preceding verse, but is a separate and distinct event: “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”

We do not see this as clearly in the English translation of Genesis 1:1-2 as it is apparent in the original Hebrew translation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

bə·rê·šîṯ ’ĕ·lō·hîm bā·rā ’êṯ haš·šā·ma·yim wə·’êṯ hā·’ā·reṣ

Hebrew reads from right to left. Starting with the preposition “In,” which is always attached to the feminine noun “beginning.” This tells us that this is the original creation of the heavens and the earth, that is being spoken here as a separate and distinct event from all that follows. Also, it is worth noting that the word “Elohim” is plural, a compound unity of God. This is to say that God is One, but consists of more than one person.

The second verse is clearly intended as a separate and distinct statement about an event which took place at great distance from the original creation.

The earth was or became without form, and void;

wə·hā·’ā·reṣ hā·yə·ṯāh ṯō·hū wā·ḇō·hū,

The term “without form, and void” is preceded by the Hebrew word ha-ye-ta, which has been translate “was.” There is some evidence that ha-ye-ta could also be correctly translated as “became.”

It is interesting that those who have an agenda to prove that verse 2 of Genesis Chapter 1 is a part of the first verse—always translate hayeta as “was.” While at the same time they translate Genesis 19:26—where Lot’s wife turns back to look at Sodom—they translate hayeta as “became” (a pillar of salt). Both Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 19:6 use the same Hebrew word: hayeta; yet, one is translated “was” and the other, “became.”

This appears to be solely for the sake of convenience in proving that Genesis 1:2 is stating that the earth was in a state of formlessness, rather than something occurred which caused it to become formless and void.

Genesis 1:2 The earth was (hayeta) without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Genesis 19:26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became (hayeta) a pillar of salt.

A point certain—since the Hebrew word hayeta may be translated as “became” in the context of Lot’s wife; it can also certainly be translated as “became,” in Genesis 1:2. You will read from some scholars that the Hebrew does not allow for the translation “became formless and void,” but this is simply not true. There are just as many Hebrew scholars who will adamantly declare that the Hebrew demands the translation “became.”[1]

In this examination of the original language, it is not important to choose “was,” or “became.” This is a subject for future discussion. For now, let us examine the second verse of Genesis 1 and use the translation: original language as “was.”

Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void

It is proposed by some scholars that verse 2, is describing the earth before God prepared it for inhabitation by Adam. If this theory is true, then beginning at verse 3, God is describing how He made the earth inhabitable for man, not how He created the entire universe in six days.

Therefore, we should not discount the fact that the universe could have been created by God 13.7 billion years ago and the earth was formed just 4.56 billion years ago—when God made the environment suitable for human habitation during the six days described.

This is possible because of what the Bible says, not because of what Theologians say.

The earth was made by the Lord to be inhabited, according to Isaiah Chapter 45:18.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. (UKJV)

The earth was made to be inhabited, but it would take the natural process of time for the earth to develop to a point where it would be inhabitable. Let me explain:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

We know that this is true from the word of God, as described in Genesis Chapter 1:1. When God spoke the universe into existence, it was not immediately ready for human life. It would take billions of years for the matter that was produced in the big bang, to form stars, galaxies, and planets. In other words, although God made the universe for life so that it could be inhabited by human beings, this life would not be created on earth for some time.

At every micro second of the nearly 14 billion years of the Universe, God was actively involved in ordering the universe. He did not simply”wind it up,” and leave it to run on its own.

The process of time

Very often, God uses–what appears to us here on earth as naturally occurring circumstances, to bring about supernatural events. God chose Abraham and Sarah to become the parents of a son who would bring the Messiah into the world. Sarah was well beyond the normal age of conception, so God performed a miracle; using the natural events of a pregnancy and birth to bring Isaac into the world. The supernatural event was observed in God making it possible for an old man and woman who were physically incapable of conceiving a child—able to conceive. Then God used the natural process of a normal 9 month human gestation period to bring this son into the world, who God had promised to Abraham and Sarah.

When Jesus came to the earth as the Messiah, He did not arrive as a grown man. He came as a baby, who had to learn and grow as any child would, in order to become a fully mature man. God used the normal events of pregnancy, birth, and the development of a child—into a man, in order to bring about the supernatural arrival of God to the earth. This all took time. See Prophecy 138 for additional details.

What science says about the age of the earth

Scientist today describe the earth as formed out of the universe, about 4.56 billion years ago. This process occurred when the earth began to take shape by the compression of gases thrown off by our sun.

The substance of our solar system in which our sun, the earth, and the other planets exist, are made up of material that is at least 4.56 billion years old.[2] The formation of our solar system happened in conjunction with the formation of our sun. As the material of the sun began to spin and flatten into a disk, some of this material was thrown off and later formed the planets of our solar system, including earth. This all took a great amount of time.

It is thought by scientists that the atmosphere of earth developed by volcanic activity which produced the specific gases and water vapor that would later produce a perfect balance of oxygen and other gases, necessary for human beings to breathe. Earth’s massive oceans may have come through collisions with asteroids and comets which carried water to our planet.[3]

The outer crust of the earth was formed over a long process of cooling. At the same time, the sun was going through many changes which caused its luminosity to increase from about 70% early in its formation, to its current 100% luminosity, which produces the precise amount of light and energy required for life to exist on earth. As the interior of earth molten core began to cool, continents began to move by massive tectonic movement. Scientists think that these massive shifts in the continents have occurred at least three times, before our current arrangement of land masses took shape.

All of these events required the process of at least 4.5 billion years to complete. This was the naturally occurring process of time that God built into the universe, our solar system, and the earth, that was required in order to form a planet fit for human habitation.

When Genesis 1:2 states that the earth was without form and void, it was during this long period of time in forming a planet fit for inhabitation, that verse 2 is describing. Although God made the earth to be inhabited by human beings, this would take a very long time to accomplish.

Let me be clear here, in every micro second of the entire process of preparing the universe for earth much later, God was at work. He did not set the universe into motion and then allow it to evolve into its present state.

Although God rested on the seventh day after the earth was ready and man was created, God has not rested from His active involvement in the universe—earth itself—nor each one of our lives, since these things were created. Jesus said that until the present time, God has been working, and Jesus said the He is also continually working.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

In one of the early comments that I received from a reader who purchased my book, he unfairly characterized me as believing in “Cosmic Evolution,” I do not.

God originally created the universe and He has been working every since that time to make it suitable for human inhabitation. At every micro-second of time, over the past 13. 7 billion years, God was working to prepare the earth for man.

The evidence, the evidence…

It is preposterous to state that the entire universe was created in six days and that every process necessary for life was completed in this period of time. Primarily because the text of Genesis 1:1 does not state this, and secondly because scientists today are able to measure the age of the universe and conclude with certainty that nearly 14 billions years have passed since the original expansion of the universe began. This passage of time was not evolution—it was God working to prepare the Cosmos for earth, and then in six days God brought the earth into a state of readiness for human life.

Once the earth was at a point in its development when God determined it was ready for inhabitation, He commenced with the six days described, beginning at Genesis 1:3. The Sun already existed, but it was not visible on the earth because of the heavy atmosphere and water which covered the planet. God separated the water from the land, created an atmosphere that allowed the sun to be visible, and then added the various life forms which are described in the creation account of Genesis 3-31.

A verse of contention

One of the verses from the Bible which has been used to make the case that the entire universe was “created” in six days, is found in Exodus 31:17.

Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ”

Notice that there is a different word used here (made) in reference to the six days of creation. Genesis 1:1 describes God as “creating” the heavens and the earth. The English word “create” came from the Hebrew word “bara,” which mean to make from nothing.

The Hebrew word used in Exodus 31:17 for made, is “mad,” which is correctly translated as “measure,” not to create from nothing as Genesis 1:1 indicates.

It is clear that Exodus 31:17 is not referring to the original creation of the universe described in Genesis 1:1, but of the time afterwards when God “measured” the heavens and the earth to bring the earth out of it’s destruction as described in Genesis 1:2. It was then that God utilized the six days of restoration of the earth in Genesis 1:3-31.

Confirmed by the Geologic Record

In evaluating the text of the Book of Genesis Chapter 1, we must keep in mind that there is, at this time in the history of the world, also a geological record as well as an astronomical record of creation. We can reject the “big bang” theory because it makes the beginning of the universe a natural event, whereas the Bible describes it as a supernatural event of God’s creation. The fact is—the universe had a beginning. It is not eternal; and therefore, it must have a cause. Our position as Christians is that God is the cause of the universe. He spoke, and the universe came into being.

In order to intelligently understand the timing for all the events which Genesis describes, we must also examine the geologic and astronomical evidence that science and astronomy have discovered, and examine this evidence in light of the Genesis account.

Scientists say that the universe has a beginning.

The Bible states: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Scientists state that approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the universe began suddenly with great precision. Following this sudden expansion of matter, it took the universe billions of years to congeal the gases that were produced in the original moments of the big bang and form into stars, planets, and galaxies. There is no indication in Genesis 1:1 that God immediately made the heavens, which includes stars and planets. There is certainly room for an interpretation that the formation of the stars and planets took time, a very long time.

God always uses naturally occurring events, over the course of time, to accomplish His will.

According to scientists, it took about 100 million years before the first stars began to form. From these stars, gases were thrown off that formed discs and eventually planets. This was also a process that took a very long period of time.

In the beginning (of everything), God created the stars, planets, and galaxies; but the entire formation of all the stars, planets, and galaxies took billions of years. This long process certainly fits the Genesis 1:1 model.

The age of the earth

The earth did not exist at the precise moment that the universe began. It would take more than 9 billion years before our star, and solar system would form, out of the matter that existed from the initial expansion of the universe.[4] We notice that the first, second, and third verses of Genesis chapter 1 are all separated by periods, not commas. In the original Hebrew language in which these three verses were written, they are described as three separate events which are linked to each other in the description of God’s creation of the universe. We find that verse 1 is the original creation of the matter that began suddenly in a massive expansion of gasses. Verse 2 is a description of earth about 9 billion years later, just prior to God forming it for life. Verse 3 is a vivid description of how God separated the land from the water and then created an atmosphere, plants, animals, and finally human life on the earth.

The original creation of the universe from Genesis 1:1, which took place about 13.7 billion years ago, is in perfect harmony with the singularity referred to as the “Big Bang” by Cosmologists.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The condition of the earth just prior to God making it suitable for life is seen in Genesis 1:2, about 4.56 billion years ago:

Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Finally, in Genesis 1:3-31, in six literal 24-hour days, God brings order to the earth, making it suitable for life.

Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light..

The following is my personal theory for when God created the universe and then brought the earth into a state where life could be sustained upon it.

The original creation, from the moment of the Big Bang:

• Creation begins: 13.7 billion years ago, Genesis 1:1 “in the beginning…”
• The first stars form: after 100 million years.
• Our sun begins to form: after 9.10 billion years.
• Earth begins to form: after 9.14 billion years.

The formation of our solar system in years, looking back:

• Our sun formed: 4.6 billion years ago.
• Earth is formed: 4.56 billion years ago.
• First life created on earth: 1 billion years ago.
• Dinosaurs first appeared: 230 million years ago, died after 135 million years.
• Forming and/or the Restoration of the earth: 6,000 years ago, the six days of Genesis 1:3-31

Day 1: Genesis 1:3-5, God causes the light that is already in existence by our Sun, to be seen on the surface of the earth (no land yet).
Day 2: Genesis 1:6-8, dividing the thick atmosphere of the earth from the water that covered the earth.
Day 3: Genesis 1:9-13, dividing the seas from the land so that land appears, seeds begins to grow (seeds were already present); grass, herbs, and trees begin to grow.
Day 4: Genesis 1:14-19, the stars, moon, and sun are fully visible on the land of earth (they already existed but were unseen on the surface of the earth).
Day 5: Genesis 1:20-23, creation of fish, birds, and the larger sea creatures. Each created according to their own kind, not evolved.
Day 6: Genesis 1:24-31, creation of land animals, creation of man and woman, dominion over the earth given to man, command to reproduce; all plants, herbs, and trees given to mankind for food.
Day 7: God ends His work of creation on the earth.

A need-to-know basis

We should remember that the Bible is not the complete story of everything that God has done in eternity. The purpose of the scriptures is to inform us of our story. The events that are spoken of in Genesis are for the purpose of revealing what God has done for us, not for any other creation that He has made. We know very little of the creation of the angels—only what God has determined that we should know at this time, and what is necessary for us to understand—regarding our salvation story. We know very little of any other creation that God has made, either on the earth or anywhere else in the universe.

The above timeline fits both the Biblical description of creation, as well as the scientific timeline for creation. There is no compromise made here, or intrinsic need to seek to reconcile science and the Bible. This timeline simply works—as is, because this is obviously what actually took place. It is certain that over the process of time and the accumulation of additional knowledge, science will adjust the time estimated for the origin of the universe, and Biblical scholars will adjust their current long-held tradition of a six-day duration for the creation of the universe. Genesis chapter one describes the earth being brought out of its state of being formless and void during a period of six days that are re-creative, not an original creation.

At the present time, a young earth and young universe is unprovable and insupportable, considering the evidence that is available.

What is certain is that the above theorem is the only reasonable explanation for why the residual radiation of the universe defines it as being almost 14 billion years old—in tandem with the geological and paleontological record of the earth which demands that our planet is billions of years old.

When Christians insist on a six-day timeline for the creation of the universe and date the earth at 6-10,000 years, contrary to the evidence, we make ourselves fools. This is one of the reasons that many intelligent people do not take the Bible seriously or honestly consider the Christian faith as valid.

We claim to base our conviction that Jesus Christ died and rose again on facts, while denying the facts which prove the age of the universe.

Faith based on facts

Contrary to popular belief, our faith in the Bible and Jesus Christ is not based on faith alone. We believe these things because the facts of the Bible support our faith. Why then would we find it difficult to believe the age of the universe is about 14 billion years, when these conclusions are supported by empirical evidence?

The only evidence that has led Theologians to conclude that the universe is about 10,000 years old is a misinterpretation of the text from Genesis chapter one, regarding the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days. The language of the first verse of Genesis does not state that God made the heavens and the earth in just six days; it declares that God created both in the beginning.

We must be honest in this regard. The reason that the Christian church has held tightly to the conviction that the universe is young is because of traditions that were confirmed before Cosmologist had the ability to understand the true age of the universe.

What does the evidence reveal?

What is certain is that the earth is not 6-10,000 years old.

Our planet appears to be billions of years old, because it is. It took a very long duration of time for the naturally occurring events required to form a planet were completed. When the earth was first formed from gases that spun off from our sun, there was no atmosphere, water, or land. It took the process of millions of years for these necessary elements to form on the earth which would allow for life much later.

Falsified evidence?

Many of the young earth creationists today would have us believe that God simply created the earth already formed in its present state, and made it appear to be billions of years old.

I reject this premise based on the words of scripture which adamantly state that what can be known about God, even His eternal power and Godhead, are understood by the things that He has made (Romans 1:20).

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead...

If God made the earth look billion of years old when it is really only 10,000 years old, what does that say about the character of God? Of course it wrongly implies that God is a deceiver, which is not true. Since God can be known by the things that He has made, this would include the earth. If scientists can accurately measure the true age of our planet at about 4.56 billion years by the physical evidence, then we should have reasonable cause to conclude that the age of our planet is not 10,000 years old.

God can be understood by the things He has made

If God made the heavens and the earth in just six days, it is reasonable that He would have left us with some evidence to this fact. What we find is that He has left us with a great deal of evidence.

I would personally reject the entire theory of a young earth based on this verse of scripture from Romans 1:20, as well as the other overwhelming evidence from science—which confirms that the age of the Earth is billions of years old, not thousands.

I am not seeking to reconcile science with the Bible, I am simply stating what the Bible has declared from the beginning.

How the scientific age of the Earth was determined

In 1956, Dr. Clair Cameron Patterson (June 2, 1922–December 5, 1995), a Geochemist, published his findings on certain meteorites that came from the Barringer Crater, also called “Meteor Crater,” near Winslow Arizona. Using uranium-lead isotope dating for several of these meteorites, the true age of the earth was estimated at 4.56 billion years.[5]

It is interesting that scientists consider that most other geological samples from Earth cannot give us a true age for the earth, because our planet has undergone so many changes in the mixing of material from the core, mantle, and crust. The problem with Radio Isotope dating is that any sample which is tested, that came from a source where the material was not from a closed system—protected from outside influences, the dating of those samples will be unreliable.

Age by material on the earth

The oldest material that has been examined on the Earth to the present time, came from the Jack Hills of Western Australia. Testing reveals that these samples give us an age for the Earth at about 4.4 billion years.[6]

Age of our Sun

When scientists compare the luminosity of our Sun to those of other similar stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, the solar system that our planet resides in could not be much older than 4.4 billion years.[7]

Age by Meteorites

For this reason, scientists for the past 50 years have functioned under the assumption that meteorites contain material that has been left over from the creation of our Solar System. By measuring the age of the material from these meteorites, the age of the Earth can be known.[8]

Of course you can see where problems might arise in relying on samples from extraterrestrial sources in determining the age of our planet. Until scientists can confirm the age of the Earth from data that actually came from our planet, we should accept the current data that has determined the age of Earth by meteorites, with a bit of skepticism. This being said, we still know that our planet is much, much older than 10,000 years old. Considering all of the available data, it is certain that our planet is billions of years old.[9]

The Age of the Earth by its rotation

Finally, it is important to understand that a planet that was only 10,000 years old would be rotating at a much faster rate than our current 1,000 miles per hour. One of the ways in which we know that the earth is about 4.56 billion years old is by the speed of our rotation. Younger planets rotate much faster than older planets. A rotation speed of 1,000 miles per hour significantly defines earth as a much older planet.

In the earlier age of all planets, their time of rotation is much greater, making the existence of life impossible. When we add up the decrease in rotation that has taken place on the earth over the past 5 billion years, we arrive at a rotation which would permit human life. Scientists estimate that the earth is slowing in its rotation at the rate of just 1.4 milliseconds per day every hundred years. Since these records have been kept in 1820, this rate of decrease has been verified. Taking our current rate of decline in rotational speed and calculating backwards 4.56 billion years, the earth would have made a complete day and night in just 6.5 hours, far too short to sustain life.[10] If the earth was just 10,000 years old, the increased rotational rate would cause extreme winds in excess of 500 miles per hour, as well as massive earthquakes. At an age of 10,000 years, the amount of daylight in proportion to darkness would be too short to permit plants, animals, or human life to exist on this planet

The physical evidence that is present on the earth and in the heavens will not validate a young earth; they make it impossible. Both the Bible and the physical evidence corroborate each other and are in perfect harmony with an old earth.

Sin and death before Adam

The greatest objection to the theory of an old earth by young earth creationists, finds its source of contention in certain statements that have been made by those who view the presence of sin and death before Adam as a threat to the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us on the cross. In their words, if we accept that an earlier creation existed on the earth before Adam, we would have to accept that sin and death also existed on the earth before Adam’s sin brought death to all men.

Bodie Hodge, Answers in Genesis:

“The Bible tells us very clearly that there was no death before sin from many passages. In fact, there are no Bible verses indicating there was death prior to sin.”[11]

According to the book of Ezekiel 28:15-18, this is not true. Lucifer sinned before Adam was created and God killed his physical body:

Ezekiel 28:15-18 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.

The Hebrew word used here for “destroy” is wā·’ab·beḏ·ḵā, to kill or make perish.[12] The text here is clear that God killed Lucifer’s physical body upon his fall and subsequent judgement. Retaining his spirit, we see him present as satan in the Garden of Eden, having possessed the body of a serpent—speaking to Eve. Much in the same way that the angels who sinned, were also killed—their spirits being chained in hell where they are held until the final judgement.[13]

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

According to John D. Morris, Ph.d, Institute for Creation Research, if we embrace sin and death before Adam, we invalidate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross:

“But here is the problem. If death existed before Adam, then death is not the penalty for sin. How, then, did Christ’s death pay the penalty for our sin? If death is not tied to Adam’s sin, then life is not tied to Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Christian faith is all in vain.”[14]

The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross was for the descendants of Adam, not for angels, or any other creation that may have lived on the earth prior to Adam. Jesus sacrifice fully paid for the sins of all human beings by His death upon the cross. Whatever may have happened on the earth in the past could not possibly invalidate or diminish the great sacrifice which Jesus made for all of us.

The fact that sin and death existed before Adam should be obvious since Lucifer fell into sin and was killed physically by God (destroyed) long before Adam was created.

The angels existed long before Adam

God describes the angels being present at the original creation of the earth, before He created Adam—this would include Lucifer.

Job 38:4 Job, Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. … When the angels sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Even if we placed Lucifer in the garden on the first day of Genesis 1:3, he sinned and died before Adam is created on the sixth day. Therefore, sin and death existed before Adam was created. Verse 16 of Ezekiel 28 describes God as destroying Lucifer at his fall.[15]

Obviously, sin had occurred in Lucifer before Adam was created. All of the scriptures from the books of 1 Corinthians and Romans that speak of Adam’s sin, bringing death to all men, are applicable to Adam only. They do not speak of any creation that may have been present before Adam.

For more information on this important subject, please see Prophecy 211

Fear and long-standing tradition

Young earth creationists hold on to the six days of creation and a term of 6-10,000 years for the age of the earth, principally because of their fear that acknowledging sin and death on the earth before Adam somehow hurts or diminishes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not. In fact, if there were other beings on the earth before Adam, this would define the sacrifice which Jesus has made for us as an extraordinary and unique event that has never been offered to any other creature previously. No angel nor former creation is ever spoken of in the Bible as being presented with an offer of redemption through the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice—except the descendants of Adam.

Surprisingly, the theory that the earth is less than 10,000 years old comes, in large part, from the genealogies which are described by the Bible. Although these genealogies do confirm that the descendants of Adam have lived on the earth for about 6,000 years, nowhere does it state that the earth or the universe is only 10,000 years old.

The Bible states that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It does not affirm when this took place. Genesis 1:2 declares that (either) the earth became formless and void, by an apparent judgement of God (or) it remained formless and void for 4.5 billion years before it was ready for inhabitation (as described in theory 2). Finally in verse 3, we see that during six days described in Genesis 1:3-31, God restored the earth, created Adam, and made it possible for all human being to live on the earth.

Isn’t this a simple, easy to understand, and coherent statement for how God created the universe and made life possible?

All we had to do was read the Bible and understand the simple language which it declares. The problems which arose from the young earth theory, began when well meaning Bible commentators stated that since the descendants of Adam have only been on the earth for about 6,000 years, this must also define the age of the earth as being very young. As with all traditions of the Christian church, when anything is taught and continued for many years, it becomes a practice that is not easily repealed.

A Gallup survey in 2011 revealed that 30% of Christian adults still hold the view that the earth is about 10,000 years old.[16] What is interesting about this survey is that these adults confirmed that they take the Bible literally. If we take the text of the Bible literally, then we must understand that nowhere does the narrative of Genesis chapter 1 declare that the age of the earth is 10,000 years. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…,” does not specify when this event took place. Therefore, the scientific estimate of 13.7 billions years is not in conflict with the biblical text.

No harm done

An old earth, old universe, sin and death before Adam, do not impugn the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Nothing that I put forth in this article would interfere or contradict the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth that are described in the Book of Genesis. None of these theories would diminish the precious sacrifice for the sins of Adam’s descendants or controvert the wonderful and unique arrival of Jesus as the Messiah. I also once held to the six days of creation myself until I realized that this premise for creation does not allow us to understand correctly the infinitely unique salvation that we have been given by God. Whether or not there were beings on this planet before Adam, or any other planet—has no bearing on the fact that Jesus is described by the Bible as only dying for the descendants of Adam—for the express purpose of showing the love, mercy, and grace of God to all creation.

I submit these theories for your evaluation and consideration. They cannot be dismissed altogether, for they actually contain more evidence for the true age of the universe than the current tradition of a 6-10,000-year old young earth. No one today can prove without a doubt that the earth is only 10,000 years old, based on the Bible and the scientific data. Only time and the return of the Lord will reveal to us what really happened at the moment of creation, and exactly how and when the Lord created all things that exist. Until that moment, we should consider that our long-standing tradition of a young earth may be in error.

See the article: “Tohu wa Bohu, Earth “was” or “became” waste and void?,” for additional clarification on the original Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1-2.


NOTES:
[1] Thomas O. Lambdin. (1971). Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. Darton,Longman and Todd Ltd. ISBN 978-0-232-51369-1.
[2] Bowring, S.; Housh, T. (1995). “The Earth’s early evolution”. Science 269 (5230): 1535–40. Bibcode:1995Sci…269.1535B. doi:10.1126/science.7667634. PMID 766763
[3] Morbidelli, A. et al. (2000). “Source regions and time scales for the delivery of water to Earth”. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 35 (6): 1309–1320.
[4] Audrey Bouvier, Meenakshi Wadhwa (2010). “The age of the solar system redefined by the oldest Pb-Pb age of a meteoritic inclusion”. Nature Geoscience 3: 637–641
[5] Claire Cameron Patterson (1956). “Age of meteorites and the earth”. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 10 (4): 230–237.
[6] 1. Wilde, S. A.; Valley, J. W.; Peck, W. H.; Graham C. M. (2001-01-11). “Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago”. Nature 409 (6817): 175–178. doi:10.1038/35051550. PMID 11196637.
2. Valley, John W.; Peck, William H.; Kin, Elizabeth M. (1999). “Zircons Are Forever”. The Outcrop, Geology Alumni Newsletter. University of Wisconsin-Madison. pp. 34–35. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
3. Wyche, S.; Nelson, D. R.; Riganti, A. (2004). “4350–3130 Ma detrital zircons in the Southern Cross Granite–Greenstone Terrane, Western Australia: implications for the early evolution of the Yilgarn Craton”. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 51 (1): 31–45. doi:10.1046/j.1400-0952.2003.01042.x
[7] 1. A. Bonanno; H. Schlattl; I. Paternò, (2008). “The age of the Sun and the relativistic corrections in the EOS”. Astronomy and Astrophysics 390 (3): 1115–1118.
2. J. Baker; M. Bizzarro; N. Wittig, N; J. Connelly; H. Haack (2005-08-25). “Early planetesimal melting from an age of 4.5662 for differentiated meteorites”. Nature 436 (7054): 1127–1131.
[8] 1. Y. Melin; A. Krot; I. Hutcheon; A. Ulyanov (Sep 2002). “Lead isotopic ages of chondrules and calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions”. Science 297 (5587): 1678–83. Bibcode:2002Sci…297.1678A. doi:10.1126/science.1073950. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 12215641.
2. J. Baker; M. Bizzarro; N. Wittig, N; J. Connelly; H. Haack (2005-08-25). “Early planetesimal melting from an age of 4.5662 for differentiated meteorites”. Nature 436 (7054): 1127–1131
[9] Ibid, S. Wilde, John W. Valley, S. Nelson Wyche.
[10] Earth’s Shrinking Waistline”, The Geophysical Effects of the Earth’s Slowing Rotation.” By Donald L. Hamilton
[11] Answers in Genesis, Bodie Hodge, March 2, 2010: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/03/02/satan-the-fall-good-evil-could-death-exist-before-sin
[12] Strong’s Hebrew #6, to Destroy, cause the death or perish.
[13] Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 2 Peter 2:4, “The most common interpretation is to relate the judgment Peter speaks of with the mention of angels in Genesis 6:1- 4 (where “sons of God” apparently means “fallen angels”; cf. Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).”
[14] Institute For Creation Research, John D. Morris: Article, “Death Before Sin.” http://www.icr.org/article/18303/
[15] Ezekiel 28:16, The Hebrew word used here is wā·’ab·beḏ·ḵā, to kill or make perish. Strong’s Hebrew #6, to Destroy, cause the death or perish.
[16] Jones, Jeffrey M. (July 8, 2011). “In U.S., 3 in 10 Say They Take the Bible Literally”. Gallup.

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