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VERSE OF THE DAY
YOUNG EARTH OR OLD EARTH?
December 9, 2012
Last week: Is The Bible A Guidebook Or A Rulebook?.
Most science books teach that the earth is billions of years old. Children are taught this from an early age. Yet, they are taught in Bible classes that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Which is correct? How can the two teachings be reconciled? On December 4, 2012, Yahoo News carried an article entitled, Does The GOP Need A Religious Retreat? concernig a disagreement between Florida Senator Marco Rubio and many conservative Republicans' views that the earth is very young, and a surprising statement by "televangelist" Pat Robertson, who is quoted to have said, "If you fight science, you are going to lose your children." The article goes on to discuss the opinions of many who believe that the Republican party lost many of its elections in November partly because of its young-earth beliefs. I do not know how true this is but the question is, who is right? Is the earth young or old?
To find the answer, we must go back to the beginning. Please read Genesis 1. Verses 1 and 2 read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Some, in an effort to harmonize evolutionary science with the Bible, contend that there was a period of billions years between verses 1 and 2, during which life (including "ape-man" and other exctinct life forms) was created, then destroyed when Satan and his followers rebelled against God. God then "recreated" the earth during the six literal days of the following verses. Bert Thompson gives a description of this theory in Popular Compromises Of Creation - The Gap Theory.
First, verse two states that "the earth was without form, and void," not "had become without form, and void," as would be the case if the Gap Theory were true. Second, There is no evidence in the Bible that Satan's rebellion was on the Earth, or responsible for any great "cataclysm." Third, the theory implies death of humankind on the Earth prior to Adam. But, the New Testament teaches that sin came into the world because of Adam's sin, and that Adam was the first man. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:21, 45, "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." So, there were no men living before Adam to have rebelled with Satan before Adam's sin. Fourth, A reading of verses 1 and 2 shows a natural, and grammatic, flow from one verse to the next. Until skeptics of a young earth started looking for a way to harmonize the Bible with the old-earth "evidence," no one would have conceived of a a "gap" between the two verses. So the normal reader would have (and did) conclude that verse 2 describes what things were like immediately following the creation mentioned in verse 1.
Consider the "days" described in the remainder of Chapter 1. Were they twenty-four hour days, or billion-year "days?" Again, before skeptics of the young earth started trying to find a way to harmonize the Bible with the old earth idea, every reader would have understood the word, "day," to mean day. Certainly, if God wanted to describe the creation as happening over a period of eons, He could have used better terminology than He did. Further context shows how God intended day to be understood. In verse 5 we read, "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Here we see "day" defined as a period of light and darkness, an evening and a morning, - just what we observe in every twenty-four hour day. And, in verse 14 we read, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Now, if a day is billions of years, how long would seasons, and years be? So, it is clear that God intended for us to understand that He did His creation work in six twenty-four hour days.
Finally, the scientific evidence that the earth is old, is not really that clear-cut. There are serious flaws in old-earth dating methods. For information on that, I refer the reader to an article by Kyle Butt, New Findings Show Flaws in Old-Earth Dating Methods, In Apologetics Press.org.
So, no, the earth is not billions of years old. Efforts to harmonize evolutionary "science" with Genesis 1 fail. And, old earth dating methods are flawed, and are not dependable to prove the earth is old.
For further reading:
L. John BostFollow @ljbost John Bost | Create Your Badge
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