In part one of this blog we looked at the pros and cons of three key scriptures used in this discussion over the age of the earth and the universe – Genesis 1:2, Genesis 1:16 and Exodus 20:11. My conclusion was that, by and of themselves, if we are really honest, there is not enough evidence to nail the case one way or the other and that we need to look carefully at more scriptures to shed further light on this question.
In this part two we’ll look at several more scriptures used by supporters of both positions and see if we can come to a definitive answer. Before we do, I’d like to briefly go back to the young earth/universe creation dilemma about how we can see stars from galaxies millions of light years from us if the universe is only 6 000 years old?
In part one of this blog I mentioned time dilation as one workaround proposed by young earth/universe creationists. Others claim that the speed of light has been decreasing since creation. If so, the laws of physics would demand that the speed of light be many MILLIONS of times faster in the past than its already incredible speed to account for us seeing those stars.
Another view is that God has miraculously transported to us the light of all these far off galaxies. The main objection to this idea is that we are seeing events happening in “real time” with very distant stars. One example is the many nova and supernova explosions that have been observed in “real time”.
The Crab Nebula was created as a result of a supernova witnessed and recorded by Chinese astronomers in the 1300’s. The Crab Nebula has been accurately measured by astronomers to be 6500 light years away. To this figure we have to add 700 since the supernova happened that many years ago. This means that the supernova occurred 7200 years ago. Another recent supernova witnessed as it happened is that of 1987A which went supernova in 1987. This one is far more distant. It has been measured at 185 000 light years away.
Romans 5:12 is one verse used by young earth creationists to say that there wasn’t a world before creation week and that all fossils date from Adam on. The verse is used as a proof text to say that there was no death before Adam, including any animal deaths in the fossil record. The verse says:
“Therefore, even as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned.”
1 Corinthians 15:21 says a similar thing. Does this rule out all death, BOTH human and animal, prior to Adam?
Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death. Animals operate by pre-programmed behaviour and instinct, not choice in the same way that humans choose their behaviour for good or evil (that is, sin). The death being spoken of is not animal sin but human death earned as the punishment for sin.
God never designed animals to live forever. There still would have been animals dying even if Adam had not sinned. Their death is not a result of sin but by design, being only made as temporary creatures.
Job 40:15-24 is another passage used by young earth creationists to support their view that all the dinosaurs lived in the time of man before Noah’s flood and not before Adam. They say the behemoth with its massive tree-like tail is a dinosaur. This is a red herring. Assuming this beast was a dinosaur it only proves that at least one type of dinosaur lived in the time of man. It does not disprove that they existed before Adam.
Psalm 104:30 is one verse used to support the view that Creation week was a restoration of the earth after a previous destruction. It says “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.”
The Hebrew word used for “renew” is “chadash” which means “rebuild, renew, repair” according to Strong’s Concordance which definitely fits a restoration rather than original creation. Verses 5, 19 and 20 speak of events during the creation week implying that time period for this renewal.
Hebrews 11:3 is a particularly interesting verse in relation to this subject. It reads: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God”.
The word translated here as “framed” is an interesting one. It is the Greek word “katartizo”. Let’s look at two other places where it is used in the New Testament. In Galatians 6:1 we read: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore [Greek: katartizo] at such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”
Another place where it is used is Matthew 4:21 where we read: “Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending [Greek: katartizo] their nets.” Now if we paraphrase Hebrews 11:3 with these other possible translations it would read as follows:
“By faith we understand that the world was restored / mended by the word of God”.
These last two verses do give support to the gap viewpoint but there is still some doubt. Let’s now look at a critical verse in this discussion that answers the question of how the earth “became” waste and void if the gap viewpoint is correct.
Isaiah 14:12-14 is almost universally understood by Bible scholars, both young earth creationists and those who believe in the gap viewpoint, as referring to the fall of the archangel Lucifer who turned on God being filled with pride and became Satan the Devil, the great adversary of God and inspiration for Darth Vader, only a whole lot nastier.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High”.
There are two key points to note here regarding the rebellion of Lucifer (Hebrew: Heyl-el). First, he was given a throne and a dominion to rule and second, he was below the clouds before he ascended and tried to unseat God “on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north”.
As an aside, this location of God’s throne is echoed in many pagan religions which have borrowed this concept. Pagan gods such as Ra, Shamash, Kronos and Saturn were also said to dwell there (The Tree at the Navel of the Earth, E.A.S. Butterworth & Paradise Found, William F. Warren). This is also why Santa supposedly comes from the North Pole as many Christmas customs originate from the Roman festival, Saturnalia.
Lucifer was given a throne and dominion. He was below the clouds, which are only found on physical planets, when he rebelled against God. Satan’s rebellion could not have happened before the earth was created because he was on earth when he rebelled.
It makes little sense he was given this throne at the time of Creation week since the same dominion over earth was given to Adam (Genesis 1:26). Not only that, Adam and Eve’s Creator, was on earth mentoring them prior to their sin in the Garden so what would be the point of giving Satan a throne here on earth after the start of Creation week?
John 8:44 says “He (Satan the Devil) was a murderer from the beginning”. This beginning appears to be no later than Creation week. This runs counter to what Genesis 1:31 says that God pronounced everything very good after His week of creation.
Satan has already rebelled and is evil when he tempts Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Most Bible scholars believe that Lucifer took a third of the angels with him in his great rebellion (Revelation 12:3-9) and there are at least 100 million angels (Daniel 7:9-10, Revelation 5:11). If the earth was only 6000 years old we are led to believe that Satan not only became dissatisfied and rebelled but also poisoned the hearts of OVER 30 MILLION angels all within a very short space of time before Adam and Eve’s sin.
This seems highly unlikely to me. It is more logical to believe that God gave him his throne and authority on earth in the time before Adam and that it was Satan’s rebellion and destruction that caused the earth to become “without form (or waste) and void”.
An earth age of undefined length prior to the “re-creation week” would also reconcile with the laws of physics that tell us we shouldn’t even being seeing the light of galaxies millions of light years away if the earth and universe was only 6000 years old.
It is my personal conclusion that there is more evidence in the scriptural record for an earth age before the week man was created and that this is the time period in which Satan was given his throne and authority and ultimately the age in which he rebelled against God. His anger against God was manifested in destruction to this planet which God cleaned up and began a new creation 6000 years ago culminating in creating man “in His own image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26), the start of a marvellous plan to reproduce His own kind.