A straightforward reading of the Bible indicates that God created in six 24-hour days a little over 6,000 years ago. This is the way the church has understood it for most of the church’s history,1 and the way Hebrew scholars have always understood it.
However, with the rise of long-age claims in geology led by James Hutton2 and Charles Lyell3 about 200 years ago, some conservative Christians became intimidated. So they proposed schemes by which the Bible could accommodate these long–age ideas. Various views, unheard of before this time, sprung up: day-age, gap theory, framework hypothesis, theistic evolution.
All of these views have the baneful consequence of placing death before sin, including human death—even death by sinful means including cannibalism. However, the Gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, 21–22, 26, and 45–49 tells us that Adam, “the first man”, “a man of dust”, sinned and brought physical death into the world as punishment. So Jesus, “the last Adam”, “the man of heaven”, came to die physically for our sin, then rise physically from the dead.4 Therefore, if death came before sin, then death is not the punishment for sin, so how could Jesus die for our sins?
This view asserts that the days of creation were long ages of time. This idea was unknown until evangelical Anglican theologian Stanley Faber (1773–1854) proposed that the days of Genesis 1 were really eons of time. This was not widely accepted until it was popularized by the Scottish geologist and professing evangelical, Hugh Miller (1802–1856), who abandoned the gap theory and started promoting the day-age view in his book Testimony of the Rocks. This was published in the year after his untimely death (by suicide). He speculated that the days were really long ages. Miller held that Noah’s Flood was a local flood and that the rock layers were laid down over long periods of time. The best known modern proponent of this view is Hugh Ross (1946– ) and his organisation Reasons to Believe, whose justifications for the view have been thoroughly discredited.5
As we have often shown, the days of Genesis 1 must be normal-length days, because they have both a number and an evening plus morning. Also, the Fourth Commandment explicitly cites Creation Week as the pattern for our working week (Exodus 20:8–11)—we don’t work for six eons and rest for one eon!
Even the order is wrong!
Some are attracted to the false Day-Age view because they think that if the time scale of Genesis were stretched out, then it would match the long-age/evolutionary order. But this view is naive, as will be shown. There are major contradictions between a straightforward reading of Scripture and the order claimed by uniformitarian/evolutionary ‘science’. Day-agers accept the evolutionary order, but just deny biological transmutation of kinds.
This is explained in the table (p.54) Some of the major highlights are:
Big bang theory places the big bang at 13.8 billion years ago, then for billions of years, stars were born and died, and from ‘stardust’ our own sun was born—all elements above helium were supposedly released by exploding stars.6 Then the earth and the rest of the planets formed about 4.5 billion years ago by somehow condensing out of a swirling cloud of gas and dust (nebula).7 Thus the sun came before the earth, and many stars came billions of years before the sun. But Genesis teaches that God made the earth on day 1, and the sun and stars on Day 4.
Some assert that what really happened on this fourth ‘day’ was that the sun and other heavenly bodies ‘appeared’ when a dense cloud layer dissipated after millions of years. This is not only fanciful science but bad exegesis. The Hebrew word ‘asah means ‘make’ throughout Genesis 1, and is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘create’ (bara’)—e.g. in Genesis 1:26–27. It is pure desperation to apply a different meaning to the same word in the same grammatical construction in the same passage, just to fit in with atheistic evolutionary ideas like the big bang. If God had meant ‘appeared’, then He presumably would have used the Hebrew word for appear (ra’ah), as He did when He said that the dry land ‘appeared’ as the waters gathered in one place on Day 3 (Genesis 1:9).
Evolution postulates that the first living organism was a single cell, which arose from an oceanic primordial soup by chemical evolution.8 After that, living creatures evolved in the seas long before land plants and animals, and longer still before trees. But Genesis reveals that God created land plants, including trees, first.
Evolution teaches that ichthyosaurs and the other marine reptiles evolved from land reptiles, and that whales evolved from land mammals, which had evolved from other land reptiles. Day-agers dutifully claim that the former were created after the latter. Similarly, evolutionists believe that birds and pterosaurs evolved from land reptiles, while bats evolved from land mammals. However, Genesis explicitly teaches that God made the sea and flying creatures on Day 5, a day before He made land creatures, Day 6. This has led to very imaginative Scripture-twisting: that the eon-‘days’ were overlapping rather than sequential.9
Any sort of evolution must consistently deny a literal first solitary man and woman who are the sole ancestors of all other humans who ever existed.10 Rather, they say that a population of ape-like creatures evolved into a population of humans. Genesis on the other hand teaches that the first man was made not from living creatures but from inanimate matter (dust of the ground), which didn’t become living until God breathed upon it (Genesis 2:7). And the first woman likewise had no mother, but was made from the man’s rib (Genesis 2:21–24).
Day-age creationists fare little better than evolutionists, because they blindly accept the evolutionary dating. This ‘dates’ fossils of undoubted Homo sapiens at almost 200,000 years ago, far older than Adam could be, even with the most absurd stretching of the biblical timeline given in Genesis 5 and 11.11
All billions-of-years views place death before sin. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this. These views teach that almost as soon as living things arose, they also died. However, the first recorded death of a biblically living creature (Hebrew nephesh chayyāh12) occurred after Adam and Eve sinned, when God killed an animal to make skin clothes for them (Genesis 3:21).
The Fall could not have occurred too long after Day 8 after Creation Week, because Adam and Eve were commanded to ‘fill the earth’, they would have obeyed in their unfallen state, and their physically perfect bodies would have been capable of conceiving. There were probably a few days in paradise—Genesis 3:8 indicates that God was walking in the ‘cool of the day’, and the particular type of verb used (called the hithpael) indicates a habitual or repeated action.
Why does it matter?
The above should show why it’s futile to try to expand the time scale of Genesis. The order of events is also diametrically opposed to the long-age order. Yet to the Bible authors, order often mattered. E.g., when teaching about the role of women, Paul pointed out that Adam was formed before Eve, as Genesis 2 states (1 Timothy 2:13–14). And when explaining justification by faith alone, Paul in Romans 4 explained that Abraham was saved by his faith or belief (Genesis 15:6) before his work of being circumcised (Genesis 17).13 If the order matters for Christ’s chosen apostle Paul, it should matter to us!
John Mackay once pointed out that, as the Lord created plants before animals and insects etc, then because many plants rely on birds and insects for pollination, the plants would have died in the long-range theory because there no living creatures around to pollinate them. Then, when the birds, insects etc did come along, they would have quickly died out because there would have been no plants for them to eat.
Timothy W., United States, 17 March 2017
When there is observable scientific evidence for one theory, and recorded evidence by people that did not observe these events offering another theory, don't some of these inconsistencies do more to cast doubt on a literal interpretation of Genesis? It seems like in order to say the science is all wrong, you are assuming the infallibility of a different source. Doesn't this come down to a dispute between those who think Genesis is literally true and those who think it is a story? Are you nearly as opposed to Catholics as you are to Evolutionists?