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December 7, 2009

A Note From the Author:

Thank you for taking an interest in and reading my research and analysis of the

Creation-Date Controversy and I hope you will find the research and contextual

exploration helpful in your understanding and reading. I’m an academic at heart and a

thinker by nature, so detailed analysis of Scripture is truly enriching not just to my mind

but also to my spirit. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active and

sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit,

of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”

(NASB). While the scientific, historical, and concordant information may be interesting

to you, don’t allow this read to just be an intellectual and theological exercise. To

conclude the research and rebuttals, I have included a “Conclusion” section that sums up

the information and explains my reasoning for my own personal conclusion. The Bible is

divided up into 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and 31,173 verses, but it is one great story of

God’s creation and redemption of humanity and the Creation Story is just one part of the

greater story.

For those that may be interested or curious, footnotes and formatting are in

adherence with Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and

Dissertations. I hope you enjoy and benefit from this research and analysis and I am

always open to thoughts, questions, and suggestions.

Adam Young
ayoung@kencarylchurch.com
www.scribd.com/AdamDeanYoung

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Introduction

I had planned on writing this introduction and disclaimer in the “Note From the

Author” section but was afraid that it would get passed over in attempts to get to the main

argument and research. The intent of this work is to explore and explain some of the

leading theories behind the Creation-Date Controversy, and for me to personally come to

a conclusion as to where I land. I wrote this for me, not for those who may read this on

the internet, but have posted it for those who may have similar questions or are looking

for an introductory survey on the theories without doing all the research that it would take

to get a firm grasp on this subject. This work is only introductory and is not supposed to

be or claim to be a full and complete survey on the issue.

In an effort to stay focused and because of limitation of time (I don’t get paid to

write) I narrowed my research and reading to only the major and influential theories and

science. There are countless other theories not mentioned here and little nuances within

each major theory for those who hold to them. My goal was to paint a broad picture of

scientists and theologians’ attempts at reconciling science and Scripture. I primarily

focused on the science of geology, because there are more disagreements there between

science and Scripture and it is this science that began to call into question the age of the

earth. There are sciences and scientists that use empirical data and research to support

both young-earth and old-earth conclusions. This work does not give detailed analysis of

the science and research, but uses more logical, philosophical, and theological arguments

to come to its conclusions.

I do plan, at a later date, to continue this research and supplement each argument

with more detailed scientific data, other sciences (astronomy, biology, anatomy, etc.), as
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well as more detailed coverage of various theologians and modern-day experts. But for

now, I hope this helps bring new light to the controversy and assists you in coming to

your own conclusions. The opinions, thoughts, and conclusions do not necessarily

represent the local church in which I serve as one of the pastors, Ken Caryl Church

(www.kencarylchurch.com) or the Southern Baptist Convention (www.sbc.net) under

which I serve and minister.

The Creation-Date Controversy

The creation account in Genesis 1:1 begins by declaring God’s creation of the

heavens and the earth; Genesis 1:2 states that the earth was formless and void; Genesis

1:3 begins a narration of six days in which the earth was formed and plant, fish, bird, and

mammal life was created, climaxing in the creation of mankind.

Many people have been taught that throughout the first seventeen centuries of

Christian history there was general agreement on the six-twenty-four-hour-creation-days

interpretation. While a closer examination of early church literature shows that there

were, in fact, a wide range of varying interpretations. Although it received little attention

in light of such matter the church was facing as attacks on the triune nature of the

Godhead and the humanity/deity of Christ.1 But in the early seventeenth century, James

Ussher, an Irishman and Archbishop of Armagh, sparked a movement that has been in

debate ever since. Believing the days of creation to be literal twenty-four hour periods

and working from the recently translated King James Version of the Bible, Ussher used

the genealogical accounts within the Old Testament to calculate the beginning of creation

at about 4036 B.C. John Lightfoot, building upon his work, concluded that creation took
1
Hugh Ross, Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the
Creation-Date Controversy (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994), 16 & 24.
4

place the week of October 18 to 24, 4004 B.C., with Adam created on October 23 at 9:00

A.M. forty-fifth meridian time. As silly as that sounds, since that time, many non-

Christians still assume that all Bible-believing Christians adhere to the beginning of

creation in 4004 B.C. 2

In the late eighteenth century geologists began to learn that silt and rocks were

laid down in succession producing layers. In the beginning of the nineteenth century

fossils were being excavated of animals that were no longer in existence.3 The science of

geology began to mature in the late nineteenth century and with it, dating systems using

radioactivity. Scientist began to conclude that the earth was not just a few thousand years

old, but several billion.4 An emotional and fiery debate ensued that continues to this day.

For many Christians and non-Christians alike, this seemed like science had proven the

Bible to be un-authoritative and errant. But those believing the Bible to be true and the

written word of God, sought explanations that could either refute the scientific findings or

reconcile them together. The next section will explore some of these theories and views

that have been proposed and adopted by Christians as to explanations for the apparent

differences between science and theology.

The focus of this paper is to explore and explain the various theories and views of

the creation-date controversy and to preserve this primary focus, there is little attention

given to some underlining assumptions. However, the reader should be made aware of

some the assumptions of the writer and this work. The first being, that there is one triune,

uncreated God, who created everything out of nothing, including those realities not

2
Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids:
WM B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954) 174.
3
Ross, Creation and Time, 27-28.
4
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 171.
5

specifically named in the Genesis creation account. Therefore all creation and realities

have a beginning, authored by God. These conclusions are drawn from the Bible, the

revealed, authoritative, inerrant Word of God. The Bible is the highest standard of truth

and unlike the sciences, remains the same and always unchanging. No theory or

explanation derived by human logic, argument, or scientific research is acceptable, unless

in full agreement to Scripture. Because both Scripture and creation reveal God and His

nature, they will always work to compliment one another. Any inconsistencies are not a

result of God’s deception, but a human failure to fully understand the meanings behind

both discoveries. As Dr. Hugh Ross states, “No compromise of integrity is require by

either side, not by the scientist who trusts in the established facts of nature, nor by the

Christian who upholds the inerrancy of God’s written Word.”5 The most important

question in regards to the Genesis Creation account is the “who” of creation. Not in who

God created, but who was the Creator. However, the purpose and focus of this writing is

to explore and explain the “how” and “when” of the origins of all known and unknown

creation and realities.

Theories of Reconciliation

The following list of theories and views are adapted from Bernard Ramm’s, The

Christian View of Science and Scripture, coupled with various theologians’ support and

thoughts.

Religious-Only Theory

One approach to the problem of Genesis and geology is to affirm that Scripture

states the origin of the universe in religious or theological terms, but that science declares

5
Ross, Creation and Time, 15.
6

how and when it happened. Adherents to this view believe that science and Scripture

cannot be harmonized and the theologian who tries to derive science from Genesis is as

much in error as the scientist who sees nothing of God in creation. The creation account

of Genesis should only serve to point to a powerful, wise, and good Creator God and that

is all.6 The spiritual implications of this theory remain true: the Genesis creation account

does point us to a powerful, wise, and good God, and it is important to always remember

that Genesis 1 is Creator-centered, not creation-centered. However, by creating such a

separation of theology and science as this theory suggests, it is only a matter of time until

the theology becomes irrelevant. If we can gain a proper understanding of the world, its

origins and workings, without theology, then the Scriptures become useless. This theory

aims to solve the discrepancies of science and Scripture, but by its own methods becomes

invalid.

Flood Theory

Many Christians hold to a strict and literal interpretation of Scripture and

assuming that all genealogies have been accurately recorded, hold to the view that the

earth is still relatively young. One of the most popular ways in which they reconcile the

differences between geology and Scripture is to account for the various animal and

vegetable life found at different strata of the earth as the results of the Flood of Noah in

Genesis 6-8. When God flooded the earth, He sent huge waves at thousands of miles an

hour rushing over the surface of the waters. These waves picked up the various forms of

life and as the waves lost their velocity they deposited the mud, dirt, animals, plants, and

debris as huge strata. The weight and pressure of the waters compressed the mud strata,

hardening it to rock. The humans of Noah’s time fled to the tops of mountains to escape
6
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 177-178.
7

the rising waters and were picked up last by the waves, hence, only being found in the

highest strata of the earth.

But as geologists studied the various strata, they concluded that a single

catastrophic event over a short period of time, like the Flood, could not account for the

variations in the geological strata. One reason, being that the amount of water it would

take to carry such large amounts of sediment to form the various layers are beyond our

earth’s capacity to sustain. The amounts of physical and chemical conditions under which

rocks are formed and the amount of time needed to do so are not accounted for in the

flood theory. According to this theory, there are only a few thousand years between the

flood and our current place in history. But these few thousand years do not allow enough

time for other geological phenomenon that would have taken place between then and

now. There needed to be multiple events that were spaced over a greater amount of time.7

However, scientist do generally agree that a great flood, like the Flood of Noah,

could account for some of the variations and plant and animal dispersions within the

earth’s strata. The popularity of this theory has even benefitted science in many ways,

causing geologists to look for and discover instances of rapid burial and opened a new

appreciation for the “catastrophic” aspects of geologic history. But the geological

evidence suggests that one catastrophic event over a relatively short period of time is just

not enough to account for all the variations and divisions within the geological strata.8 In

addition to the problems of not allowing enough time or catastrophic events, are the

logical problems of the created order in regards to a literal six, successive, twenty-four

hour days interpretation that will be dealt with under the next theory.
7
Ibid., 180-185.
8
Davis A. Young, Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids:
Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), 71-91.
8

Successive Catastrophes Theory

This theory is similar to the gap theory, which will be covered in greater detail

later, but was built upon and continued from the flood theory. Realizing that one single

catastrophe event or flood could hardly account for all the different strata and uniqueness

of each one, theologians and scientists like Cuvier and Agassiz began to develop a theory

that surrounded multiple catastrophes by either flood or glaciers. These catastrophes

would cover only part of the earth in which the plants and animals would be buried under

the drifting sands, and once receded, new plants and animals would migrate to the region

again. However, this theory required more time than the allotted 6000 or so years, so they

began to incorporate gaps of time within the Genesis account and soon this theory moved

away from the actual Genesis creation account and more towards creationism.9

In regards to the literal twenty-four hour day interpretation, there appears to be

some chronological order fallacies that have been overlooked by many. Twenty-four hour

days are an integral part of the created order of our world, but it would be irrational to

assume the existence of twenty-four hour days “in the beginning.” The Genesis creation

account begins with the creation of light and darkness on the first day, yet the source of

light was not created until the fourth day. Evening and morning signified the beginning

and ending of each of the days of creation, yet the solar system, whose lights

distinguished the day from night, was not created until the fourth day. Plant life was

created on the third day, yet its necessary source of chlorophyll in light from the sun was

not created until the fourth day.10 For many, these issues of logical order dismiss the

9
Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 188-189.
10
R. Clyde McCone, "Were the Days of Creaiton Twenty-Four Hours Long?," in
The Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions About Creation and the Flood, ed. Ronald
Youngblood, 12-35 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986), 21-22.
9

possibility of the creation days being successive twenty-four hour days. Perhaps these

days are symbolic or serve another purpose than being days of creation.

Local Creation Theory

As the flood theory and successive catastrophe theory were losing acceptance, in

1840 John Pye Smith in his book, On the Relation Between the Holy Scriptures and

Certain Parts of Geological Science, argued for a local creation in Genesis 1:2, separate

from the creation in Genesis 1:1. Smith accepted the interpretation of German scholar

Dathe, that read Genesis 1:2 as saying “But afterwards the earth became waste and

desolate.”11 He contended that the Jews had no concept of the earth being a sphere or its

actual size, so “earth” was referring to the portion the Lord had assigned for the

habitation of mankind. Geology gives us the history of the entire planet from its creation,

but Genesis 1:2 is speaking more of a remodel in a particular area. This gives geology the

time and space it needs and that God’s “remodel” is concerned with plants and animals of

today, making Genesis 1:2 a very recent event. This theory was very influential but its

success was not long lived.12 While this theory solved the problem between Scripture and

science, it robs the Scriptures of any real meaning. The study of the origin of the universe

and its history now becomes completely non-Christian and non-theistic. The six days of

creation hold no real significance as God’s mighty handiwork, only a small remodeling

job and Smith’s interpretation holds no real weight in proper exegesis.

Ideal-Time Theory13

Omphalos is the Greek word for navel, which was the title of Philip Henry

Gosse’s 1857 publication, Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot. Gosse, a
11
Italics mine.
12
Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 190-191.
13
Also known as Pro-Chronic Theory.
10

biologist and preacher, faced a dilemma. The scientist part of Gosse was convinced that

the evidence supported a date of the earth much older than a few thousand years. The

preacher part of Gosse felt constrained to uphold the date he thought his Christian faith

required.14 In an attempt to reconcile the two, he argued that all of nature is in a circular

process and that creation must commence somewhere in that cycle. Gosse asks, “Did

Adam have a navel? Of course he did.” Adam was created at a given point in the cycle of

nature and would have appeared as though he had already been in that cycle. Adam’s

actual age would be zero, but he would appear, for example, as though he were thirty

years of age.15 If God created trees, rather than merely seeds, the trees would have rings

and appear as though they had been through the growing process although they had not.

Gosse uses the terms pro-chronic and dia-chronic or real-time and ideal-time

respectively. At the moment of creation there was pro-chronic or real-time of existence

and sense then creation has been in dia-chronic or ideal-time.

So according to this theory, the real time of the universe might be 6000 years old,

but appear as though it were much older. If creation is an irruption in the natural cycle,

then scientists cannot work backwards indefinitely. For Gosse, the evidence of fossils and

geologic strata are only a testimony to the perfection of God’s antiquating His universe.

Evidence of real time versus ideal time can even be found in the life Jesus. Take, for

example, Jesus’ first public miracle: turning water into wine. When he performed this

miracle, the wine would appear to have been through the normal process of wine-making:

deriving from grapes, being pressed, and then fermented. The host of the wedding tasted

the wine, assumed it had been made through the established methods, and thought the

14
Ross, Creation and Time, 29-30.
15
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 192-193.
11

wine had been there since the beginning of the wedding, asking why it hadn’t been served

first. Jesus created the wine instantaneously but it appeared to have had a traditional,

actually non-existent, history.16 The real-age of the wine was zero, but the ideal-time

would have appeared to be several months or years. The same logic is applied to the

Genesis creation account in regards to the age of the earth. Whitcomb goes as far as to

say if this theory, or as he puts it “doctrine,” is not true, there could be no original

creation by God at all. No matter what God created it would have to have a non-existent,

but apparent age. Therefore, to conclude that the earth is relatively 6000 years old, but

perfectly antiquated by God is perfectly within His ability and necessarily within the

Genesis creation account.17

While Gosse and his modern day supporters’ logic is hard to argue, there are

serious implications if his theory were to be true. First, it sets the stage for a God who

deceives for His own enjoyment. There is no biblical or theological necessity for God to

create a world that appeared old when it was actually not and certainly speaks of a God

who covered every possible detail to ensure the world was fully antiquated. Placing

fossils deep beneath the earth’s surface, for humans to one day find, of plants and animals

that never existed. It would call for people to begin questioning every one of their

perceptions and experiences. Are they real or only God making me think they are real?

Secondly, this theory does not reconcile science and Scripture but completely destroys all

science. Science is wrong in every conclusion it has come to and cannot be trusted.

Serious implications if true, but this theory seems to contradict other revelations within
16
Kurt P. Wise, Faith, Form, and Time What the Bible Teaches and Science
Confirms About Creation and the Age of the Universe (Nashville: Broadman & Holman
Publishers, 2002), 59.
17
John C. Whitcomb, The Early Earth, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1986) 40.
12

Scripture of the nature and character of God.

Gap Theory18

As geologists continued to gain a better understanding of the earth, many of the

early theories were not sufficient. For science and Scripture to work together there

needed to be more time for developments and catastrophic events and the traditional view

of a young earth didn’t supply it. Thomas Chalmers developed a theory that would give

the geologist the time they needed. As John Pye Smith had done, by using Dathe’s

interpretation of “was” in Genesis 1:2 as “became,” Chalmers determined that there was a

creation (Genesis 1:1), followed by a catastrophe (Genesis 1:2), and then followed by

another creation (Genesis 1:3). Supporting Chalmers, G. H. Pember in his 1876 book,

Earth’s Earliest Ages, made this theory famous and this writing became one of the core

books that shaped modern day Fundamentalism. Then Scofield adopted this thought and

interpretation in his Reference Bible, which fueled its popularity.

While there are variations of this theory, in general it supports that God created a

perfect world as recorded in Genesis 1:1. This world was turned over to Satan and

through his fall, the world became corrupt and fallen. It was left in this state for millions

or even billions of years, during which the various geological formations were formed. In

Genesis 1:2, God destroyed what remained of the desolate earth and somewhere around

4000 B.C. God recreated or recondition it in six literal twenty-four hour days in Genesis

1:3. Pember argues that the Hebrew words tohu and bohu (without form and void) can

only refer to something that is ruined from a pervious condition; they express an

outpouring of the wrath of God. It is also important to note that Pember admits that the

Bible contributes no formal principle for the interpretation of geology and therefore,
18
Also known as Restitution Theory or Creation-Ruination-Recreation Theory.
13

whatever geologists conclude about the geological record we should accept.19

The problems with this theory are too numerous to list in full detail here,

however, some of the prominent ones should be discussed. First, it takes one of the

grandest passages of the Bible into one of the most bizarre and incomprehensible. The

original creation of the universe is subjected to one verse, the next verse contains billions

of years of hidden history, destruction, and evil, and then the next two chapters are

devoted to a remodel. Secondly, in order to come to these conclusion, these theologians

and religious leaders took passages out of context from Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel and

forced them to fit behind the scenes of Genesis 1:2 with no biblical foundation for doing

so. The exegetical fallacies alone, as detailed by Ramm, of redefining the meanings of

several Hebrew words, are shown to be inappropriate and unwarranted.20 Finally, this

theory solves nothing in regards to geology and opens the door for some very dangerous

theological implications. Just because someone develops a theory to allow for more time

in the age of the earth controversy, does not bring theology and geology together.

Following along with Pember’s statement on geology, as so many others have also

bought into, allows science to come to any conclusion it may without the slightest

influence of Scripture. It may create peace between theologians and scientists, but a

Christian worldview that doesn’t allow Scripture to speak into the origin and order of the

world, is no Christian worldview at all.

Age-Day Theory21

While the gap theory remains today a strong viewpoint, especially among

Fundamentals, soon there arose problems with this thought. The gap theory provided
19
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 195-201.
20
Ibid., 202-203.
21
Also known as Divine-Day Theory or Concordism Theory.
14

geologists with the time they needed, but soon there was need to explain the sequence of

the geological formations. The explanation and argument supported by such men as Hugh

Miller, James Dana, and J. W. Dawson, was that the days of Genesis were not literal

twenty-four hour days, but geological time periods. It’s called age-day theory or

geologic-day theory because it considers the days of Genesis as being periods of time; it’s

called Divine-day theory after Augustine, a 4th and 5th century philosopher and

theologian, who said they were God-divided days, not sun-divided days.

Much of the argument for and against this theory surrounds the Hebrew word

yom translated day. Some scholars refer to the use of yom as evidence for the original

intended meaning to be that of a twenty-four hour period. However, proponents of this

theory believe it to be a metaphorical meaning, citing other passages in which the same

word, yom, is used differently. In just the first two chapter of Genesis alone the word is

used to mean: daylight (1:4); a day marked out by an evening and a morning (1:4);

daylight in contrast to night (1:14); a twenty-four hour day (1:14); and to the entire period

of creation (2:4).22 Elsewhere in Scripture it is used to mean: a process of time (Gen 4:3);

wheat harvest time (Gen 30:14); a long season (Josh 24:7); a future era (Isaiah 4:2);

summer + winter (Zech 14:8).23 However, as Fretheim points out, that it is not the

singular form of yom that they are referring to, which is used over 2200 times in the Old

Testament always to mean a twenty-four hour day. It is the plural forms and those that

are a part of an adverbial construction, as in Genesis 2:4, that can carry a greater

meaning. It is only the singular form of yom that is used for the six days of creation.24
22
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 211-213.
23
Ross, Creation and Time, 46.
24
Terence E. Fretheim, "Were the Days of Creation Twenty-four Hours Long?,"
in The Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions About Creation and the Flood, 12-35
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986), 17.
15

Bradley and Olsen observe that the use of yom in Genesis 1 cannot be adequately

compared to its other uses. There is no other place in the Old Testament where the intent

is to describe multiple and/or sequential, indefinite periods of time. In fact, they claim it

creates more problems than solves to interpret this word to mean twenty-four hour days.

The sixth day of creation alone involves: the major types of land animals created, Adam

created, the garden planted and made to grow, Adam being placed in the garden, Adam

naming the animals and the feeling lonely, Adam being put to sleep and Eve being

created, and finally the initial meeting at which Adam exclaims, “now at length.” A

twenty-four hour understanding of the sixth day, in their opinion, doesn’t allow for

enough time for all the events that took place.25

Another point of argument for and against this theory is the expression “evening

and morning.” Those believing yom to be metaphorical, must also conclude this phrase is

metaphorical. They do not mean that there is a million years of light followed by a

million years of darkness, but rather this expression is meaning a period of creation and a

period of rest. Ross indicates that literally translated “evening and morning” mean,

ending of the day and beginning of the day respectively, regardless of how “day” is being

used. So the use of this phrase in no way changes the intended meaning of yom.26 Others

have argued that Exodus 20:11, requiring six days of work and then one day of rest for

God’s people, is indicative of the same amount of time used to create all things. Because

the Israelites were to work for six days and then rest, God must have worked on the same

timetable. However, God also required a Sabbath rest for agricultural land, that was to
25
Walter L. Bradley and Roger Olsen, "The Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas
Relating to Natural Science," in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible, ed. Earl D.
Radmacher and Robert D. Preus, 285-234 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,
1984), 300.
26
Ross, Creation and Time, 46.
16

last a full year. The Sabbath law was meant to shadow the process of God’s work, not

repeat it.27

Pictorial-Day Theory28

With the pictorial-day theory or perhaps better stated, the pictorial-revelatory

theory, the focus turns not on the “how” or “when” of creation, but to the “who” of

creation. The creation account found in Genesis is meant to evoke worship to the all-

powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, all-good Creator. Rather than viewing the Genesis

creation as being performed in six literal days or age-days, it was revealed in six

pictorial-revelatory days. Genesis is not speaking scientifically or exclusively and is not

necessarily in chronological order but more so topically and logically ordered.29 Creation

happened in Genesis 1:1-2, but it was revealed by God in six, most likely twenty-four

hour, days. McCone summarizes this position well in his statement regarding the issue on

the length of time associated with days, “Since by divine revelation we are taken to the

beginning and the Creator, we are then taken forward from God’s perspective in eternity,

not backward in time from human perspective. The days of Genesis 1, by the most literal

reading, are days of creation and not days of time.”30 Habel notes in his Literary

Criticism of the Old Testament, that the creation account in Genesis 1 are structured in a

way that expresses order and planning and that each day of creation is paralleled in the

same stylistic way.31 Perhaps suggesting that the creation account was intended more to

teach about the Creator than the exact processes in which He created. The problem with

27
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 214-218.
28
Also known as Moderate Concordism Theory.
29
Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, 218-222.
30
McCone, The Genesis Debate, 20.
31
Norman Habel, Literary Criticism of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress
Press, 1971), 19.
17

this theory specifically relates to the fourth commandment: God enjoining rest on the

seventh day because he rested on the seventh day seems to presuppose some sort of

chronological sequence.32

Conclusion

In the beginning God created. This much all evangelical theologians, pastors,

Christian scientists, and followers of Christ can agree on. We have a clearly defined

statement in Scripture that no amount of exegetical juggling or theorizing can change;

there is an all-powerful, uncreated, infinitely wise God who created everything out of

nothing. But when it comes to how God created, when He created it, and how long it took

Him to create, we can only but guess now and live with the reassurance that one day He

will reveal it to us; probably not during our time on earth, but when we see Him face to

face in our heavenly home. It would be wise to remember God’s words to Job, “Where

were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,

Who set its measurements? Since you know” (Job 38:4 NASB). Job did not, nor do we

know. But it is important for all Christians to diligently study the Scriptures and develop

a framework for which they base their doctrines.

Based on the information we have available and our best abilities to understand

that information, we must put together our best interpretation of the Genesis creation

account, acknowledging that there will always remain unanswered questions regardless

of which theory we hold to. While the Religious-Only Theory does good to remind us

that the focus of the Genesis creation account should be the Creator, not the creation, the

whole counsel of Scripture indicates that the Word of God has value, meaning, and
32
Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker
Academic, 1998), 408.
18

implication for every arena of human life and knowledge. The Flood Theory, while still

very popular in modern Christian circles, does not adequately provide answers or

reconciliation between science and Scripture. Scripture should always take precedence

over any human logic or knowledge, however, other areas of science (i.e. medicine,

biology, etc.) have proven that God not only created the world with order, but gives

humans knowledge about that order and He works through that knowledge to carry out

His will in this world. If God would use and work through human knowledge in the areas

of medicine, it seems illogical that He would use deception and trickery in the area of

geology.

Which brings us to Ideal-Time Theory. It would seem necessary that at the

moment of creation, there would be an ideal-time different than that of the real time. But

as history progressed, the world enters into real-time in which we all currently live. It

seems against the nature of God to make the world appear different than it actually is for

no reason than to deceive. Of course, all things are possible through God and if He

wanted to He could perfectly antiquate this world. It is not a question of if, but why, and

other parts of Scripture seem to refute this option based on God’s character. The Local-

Creation Theory and the Successive Catastrophe theory, while intriguing, only seem to be

attempts at cultivating a human logic theory, more than relying on Scripture and

supplementing that with Science. They hold no real weight in history, biblical

scholarship, or science.

The Gap Theory continues to hold prominence among many Christians, especially

Fundamentals, but there are so many exegetical fallacies to take it serious anymore. An

ingenious way of giving scientist the time they were looking for, but creates more
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problems than it solves and only encourages others to take Scripture out of context and

use it for their own desires and preferences. It is a dangerous game to play with God’s

Word and proves itself unworthy of support.

The two theories that remain, both of which seem to be relatively viable options

are the Age-Day Theory and the Pictorial-Day Theory. As noted earlier, both have strong

points and weaknesses. There is some debate as to the freedom that can be placed on the

meaning for the Hebrew word yom or “day,” but it doesn’t seems inappropriate to attach

time period to the word as opposed to limiting it to twenty-four hours. However, if these

are time-periods, there still remains the issue of chronological progression discussed

under the Successive Catastrophe Theory. So if one holds to the idea of time-periods or

epochs of time, the creation days must be ordered topically and not actually

chronologically. The Pictorial-Day Theory holds a problem with God’s fourth

commandment for Sabbath rest. Unless, his revelation where in six twenty-four hour

days, although the actual creation had occurred previously. This would allow for direct

and literal interpretation for yom. Both of these theories seem possible and are supported

by many modern-day, conservative theologians and scientists. The Pictorial-Day Theory

is preferred by this author and seems to fit all aspects of exegesis, biblical scholarship,

history, and science most consistently and with integrity to the Word of God. It has

already been said here and deserves to be said again, the Genesis creation account is

Creator-centered, not creation-centered. What matters most is that God created

everything out of nothing and in His infinite wisdom, knowledge, love, and grace He

created when and how He willed. Because He created, He created with a plan and

purpose and the study of the origin of creation should point us to and continually remind
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us of God’s purpose for humanity. Namely, to glorify Him with our lives by responding

to and being transformed by the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus

Christ. This is an endeavor that is worthy of our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.
Bibliography

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Relating to Natural Science." In Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the Bible, edited
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Publishing House, 1984.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker


Academic, 1998.

Fretheim, Terence E. "Were the Days of Creation Twenty-Four Hours Long?" In The
Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions About Creation and the Flood, edited by
Ronald Youngblood, 12-35. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Habel, Norman. Literary Criticism of the Old Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress Press,
1971.

McCone, R. Clyde. "Were the Days of Creation Twenty-Four Hours Long?" In The
Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions About Creation and the Flood, edited by
Ronald Youngblook, 12-35. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986.

Ramm, Bernard. The Christian View of Science and Scripture. Grand Rapids: WM. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954.

Ross, Hugh. Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-
Date Controversy. Colorado Springs: NavPress Publishing Group, 1994.

Whitcomb, John C. The Early Earth. Revised Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
1986.

Wise, Kurt P. Faith, Form, and Time What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms
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Young, Davis A. Christianity & the Age of the Earth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
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