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Did God create over billions of years?

And why is it important?

by and Gary Bates

Published: 6 October 2011(GMT+10)

Often, people challenge biblical creationists with comments along the lines of, “I believe God created, and I don’t believe in evolution, but He could have taken billions of years, so what’s the big deal about the age of the earth?” Some claim that an emphasis on ‘6 literal days, 6,000 years ago’ even keeps people away from the faith, so “Why be so dogmatic? Why emphasize something so strongly that’s not a salvation issue?”

It might come as a surprise that we agree—to a point. The timescale in and of itself is not the important issue. So why does CMI emphasize it? It’s important because the issue ultimately comes down to, “Does the Bible actually mean what it plainly says?” It therefore goes to the heart of the trustworthiness of Scripture. As such, compromising with long ages also severely undermines the whole Gospel message, thus creating crises of faith for many as well as huge problems with evangelism.

The implications of a long-age timescale

The idea of millions or billions of years simply is not found anywhere in Scripture; it is a concept derived from outside of the Bible.

First, we need to understand where the concept of an old earth came from. The idea of millions or billions of years simply is not found anywhere in Scripture; it is a concept derived from outside of the Bible. In 1830, Charles Lyell, a Scottish lawyer, released his book Principles of Geology. He stated that one of his aims was “To free the science [of geology] from Moses.”1 He built his ideas upon those of another geologist, James Hutton, who advocated a uniformitarian interpretation of the world’s geology. Lyell argued that the thousands of feet of sedimentary layers (laid down by water or some other moving fluid) all over the earth were the result of long, slow, gradual processes over millions or billions of years (instead of the processes of Noah’s Flood). He believed that processes observed in the present must be used to explain the geological history of the earth. So, if we currently see rivers laying down sediment at an average rate of say 1 mm (4/100th of an inch) per year, then a layer of sedimentary rock such as sandstone which is 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) thick must have taken about a million years to form. This ‘present is the key to the past’ assumption (and its variants) is a cornerstone of modern geology. It involves a rejection of the biblical account of a global watery cataclysm. The millions of years assigned to the various layers in the ‘geological column’ were adopted long before the advent of radiometric dating methods—well before radioactivity was even discovered.

Image by Daniel Smartt

But here’s the theological problem. Those rock layers don’t just have rocks or granules in them. They contain fossils. And these fossils are indisputable evidence of death—and not just of death, but carnivory, disease and suffering. There are remains that have tooth marks in them, and even animals fossilized in the process of eating other animals. There is evidence of disease, cancers, and infection; and general suffering from wounds, broken bones, etc. Biblically, we understand these things only began to happen after the Fall. But because of the Bible’s detailed genealogies, there’s no way for the biblical Adam to exist millions of years ago, before death and suffering started happening in the uniformitarian time scale. The implication of long-age belief is that God ordained death before the Fall of man, but the Bible clearly states that it was Adam’s actions that brought death into the world (Romans 5:12).

The god of an old earth

The idea that death was in creation before the Fall has major implications for the character of God. The same problem arises if one thinks that God used evolution to create. Evolution is a random and wasteful process that requires millions of ‘unfit’ organisms to die. Countless transitional forms would have arisen, only to fall as casualties in the great march ‘forward’. At some point, this allegedly ‘good’ God ordained a lottery of death that finally resulted in humans, and then God looked at His image-bearers, standing on top of layers upon layers of rocks filled with the remains of billions of dead things, and proclaimed His whole creation—along with the evidence of all the death and suffering that went into creating it—to be ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). So we can see that long ages don’t fit in the biblical view, whether or not someone believes in evolution along with it.

To summarize, the age of the earth was derived from the rock layers, which have fossils in them, which puts death, suffering and disease before the Fall. The Bible is clear that there was no death before Adam (Romans 5:12).

The Gospel of an old earth

Death pain

At the end of day 6 God pronounced his finished creation as ”very good”. If evolution were true, would Adam and Eve have been standing on a fossil graveyard of death and struggle over millions of years that God called ”very good”. The Bible describes death as the last enemy to be destroyed.

Some alleged ‘experts’ try to sidestep this ‘very good’ issue by saying that the Fall only caused human death and disease. This cannot be true. For one thing, Romans 8:19–22 clearly teaches that the curse of death and suffering following Adam’s Fall affected “the whole creation”, i.e. the entire physical universe.

But even if we set that aside for the sake of argument, there is another problem, because we have human remains that are ‘dated’ as hundreds of thousands of years old. This is well before any possible biblical date for Adam, which places him in the Garden about 6,000 years ago. Many compromising positions see these remains as those of ‘pre-Adamites’—soulless non-human animals. But these skeletons fall within the normal range of human variation. And Neandertals, for example, show signs of art, culture and even religion. And recently, the sequencing of actual Neandertal DNA shows that many of us carry Neandertal genes—i.e. we are the same created kind. To call them ‘non-human animals’ seems entirely contrived to salvage the long-age belief system.

Also, Romans 5:12 states that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. It gives no indication that the Fall caused only human death. To distort the interpretation of Romans 5 to say that death was limited to humans would mean that Adam’s sin only brought a partial Fall to God’s creation; yet Romans 8:19–20 tells us the whole creation groans under the weight of sin and is subjected to futility. And Genesis 3:17–19 tells us that the very ground was cursed so that it produced thorns and thistles.2 If only a partial Fall occurred, then why will God destroy all creation to bring about a new one instead of a partial restoration? Why not just restore humans if the rest of creation is still “very good”?

If only a partial Fall occurred, then why will God destroy all creation to bring about a new one instead of a partial restoration? Why not just restore humans if the rest of creation is still ‘very good’?

Death the last enemy

A central part of the Gospel is that death is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death intruded into a perfect world because of sin, and it is so serious that Jesus’ victory over death cannot be entirely manifested while there is a single believer in the grave. Are we expected to believe that something the Bible authors described as an enemy was used or overseen by God for millions of years and was called ”very good”?

A major part of the Gospel is the hope we have in this Resurrection and restoration of the creation to its original perfect state. The Bible is clear about the New Heavens and Earth as a place where there is no carnivory, no death, no suffering, and no sin (Isaiah 65:17–25; Revelation 21:1–5). But how can this be called a restoration if such a state never existed?

An evolutionist Anglican priest gave a good summary of what accepting death before the Fall means for Christian theology:

“ … Fossils are the remains of creatures that lived and died for over a billion years before Homo Sapiens evolved. Death is as old as life itself by all but a split second. Can it therefore be God’s punishment for Sin? The fossil record demonstrates that some form of evil has existed throughout time. On the large scale it is evident in natural disasters. … On the individual scale there is ample evidence of painful, crippling disease and the activity of parasites. We see that living things have suffered in dying, with arthritis, a tumor, or simply being eaten by other creatures. From the dawn of time, the possibility of life and death, good and evil, have always existed. At no point is there any discontinuity; there was never a time when death appeared, or a moment when the evil [sic] changed the nature of the universe. God made the world as it is … evolution as the instrument of change and diversity. People try to tell us that Adam had a perfect relationship with God until he sinned, and all we need to do is repent and accept Jesus in order to restore that original relationship. But perfection like this never existed. There never was such a world. Trying to return to it, either in reality or spiritually, is a delusion. Unfortunately it is still central to much evangelical preaching.”3

The Bible is clear about the New Creation as a place where there is no carnivory, no death, no suffering, and no sin. But how can this be a restoration if such a state never existed?

So, one can now see the slippery slope that ensues if we allow for billions of years with or without evolution, because it puts death and suffering before the Fall. Its logical corollary is that it also places evil before the Fall (which no longer exists in his view, as such, since there was nowhere to fall from). And in the process it rules out the hope of a return to a perfect state, since there can be no return to what never was. The Gospel itself has been destroyed in the process.

Practically every Christian leader and theologian who lays out his reasons for believing in long ages rather than the biblical timescale has to admit that Genesis—when read at face value, in the Hebrew as well as the English translations—teaches a straightforward creation in six normal-length days.

So what did Jesus come to save us from, if not death, suffering, sin, and separation from God? What do we do with passages like Hebrews 9:22, which says “ … the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”, if death and bloodshed were occurring as ‘natural’ processes for millions of years before Adam? If that is the case, then the death of Christ becomes insignificant and unable to pay for our sins. And what is our hope if it is not in the Resurrection and the New Heavens and Earth?

If death is natural, why do we mourn it so? Why can we not accept death as a ‘normal’ part of life? This view robs the Gospel of its power and Jesus’ sacrifice of its significance. Following the thought to its natural conclusion has led many people to abandon the Christian faith altogether.

The effect on the church

The widespread teaching of evolution has dire consequences for our youth, who are leaving the church in droves. Christians who ‘hang in there’ but accept a billions-of-years timescale will have a much harder time defending their faith, and thus, this affects church growth. One of the major stumbling blocks to faith is the question: “Why does a good God allow all the death and suffering in the world?” Such believers cannot adequately explain the origin of death and suffering as a reaction to human sin.

Conversely, believers who have a biblical view of the world’s history have a logical platform for introducing God to people with no scriptural background. Incidentally, this was precisely the approach that Paul used when preaching to similar Gentile audiences (Acts 14:15–17; 17:23–31). In Lystra, he used creation as a key identifying factor that set God apart from mere men like himself and Barnabas. And in Athens he took the stoics and other philosophers of the day ‘back to Genesis’ to lay a foundation to introduce them to the true God in the hope that they would repent from their useless idolatry.

What about these ideas?

Could the days in Genesis be long periods of time?

Are there gaps between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2?

Is a ‘soft gap’ defensible?

Is Genesis just a literary framework?

Is Genesis Poetry?

Is the seventh day eternal?

Isn’t ‘a day like a thousand years’ to God?

Doesn’t Genesis 2:4 use a ‘non-literal’ day?

Were there literal days before the sun?

Could the days of Genesis be ‘days of revelation’?

Aren’t there two contradictory creation accounts?

Is ‘Progressive Creation’ biblical?

If belief in the Bible as plainly written strengthens one’s ability to explain the Gospel, and compromise can have such damaging effects, why would anyone compromise? Practically every Christian leader and theologian who lays out his reasons for believing in long ages rather than the biblical timescale has to admit that Genesis—when read at face value, in the Hebrew as well as the English translations—teaches a straightforward creation in six normal-length days. And that this is powerfully backed up by Exodus 20:11, part of the Ten Commandments, which shows the Genesis days were understood as normal-length days, with no room for millions of years or gaps in the text to insert them. But they unfortunately accept that science has somehow ‘proved’ millions of years, which is actually not the case.

Inconsistent Christianity?

While it is possible to be a Christian and believe in an old earth, it would indicate that one has either not thought through the consequences, or that the Bible is not the ultimate authority for one’s faith. If Genesis is not real literal history, how can one know where the truth actually does begin in Scripture? Today’s ‘science’ also ‘proves’ that men don’t rise from the dead. So if we allow that same science to tell us that Jesus has not risen from the dead (which would be consistent in the compromiser’s worldview) then our “preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain,” as the Apostle Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 15:14). Placing our trust in man-made philosophies is reminiscent of the man that Jesus described in Matthew 7:26 when He said: “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Conversely, in verses 24–25 He stated: “everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

And because Jesus clearly believed in a literal historical Genesis, so should we.

Related Articles

Related Media

References

  1. Charles Lyell, personal letter to George Poulett Scrope, 14 June 1830; see creation.com/Lyell. Return to text.
  2. Interestingly, the fossil record contains thorns. A conventional interpretation of the fossil record (which denies the global Flood) places them at ‘hundreds of millions’ of years before any human being. See W.N. Stewart and G.W. Rothwell, Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 172–176. Return to text.
  3. Tom Ambrose, ‘Just a pile of old bones’, The Church of England Newspaper, A Current Affairs section, 21 October 1994. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Eric H., United States, 6 October 2011

Absolutely amazing! I love you guys. Thanks and keep feeding the sheep. :)

Joe F., United States, 6 October 2011

It is sadly ironic that all “long-agers” use the same strategy to oppose biblical creationism. They all attack the Bible itself. They do this whether they are atheists, “progressive creationists”, or “evolutionary theists.” Their tactics include everything from invalid scientific claims to literary criticism that tries to deny Genesis is historical narrative. The one thing they cannot permit, be they believer or unbeliever, is a plain reading of scripture. It’s bad enough when atheists do this, but absolutely tragic when Christians follow suit.

Gregory B., United States, 13 October 2011

Creation Ministries does more to damage the harmony of Good Science and Logical Religion. Intelligent Design is supported by the Big Bang and others well founded views on the origin of life and the design of the Earth. Do you suffer from a limited, "body bound" view of the Scriptural narrative. The most dangerous foe of literal fundamentalism is not actually Atheistic Evolutionists. The most dangerous foes of Bible thumping simpletons are Bible Scholars and unbiased scientists. I recommend What is so Great About Christianity? by Dinesh De Sousa [sic], for a logical, God affirming defense of Christianity [ed. note: a simple search on this site would have shown that this book was reviewed by one of the authors of this article (L.C.)]. You are not required to dismiss good science to remain a Christian.

Gary Bates and Lita Cosner responds

Dear Gregory,

CMI does more damage—than what? You’re missing part of the sentence there.

We believe in Intelligent Design—and the Intelligent Designer is God, who designed as He testifies in His Word in the first couple chapters of Genesis. If the Bible allowed for the Big Bang and a billions-of-years-old universe, I would have no problem with accepting it. But we just wrote a whole article showing how billions of years undermines the entire Gospel, and you didn’t respond to one point.

Only 1/3 of Bible scholars are even professing Christians. And only a fraction of those would self-identify as evangelical. So the majority of Bible scholars would deny the resurrection and the miraculous, and put the Bible on the same level as the Epic of Gilgamesh, etc. So your argument of authority would take you much too far. But there are also creationist Bible scholars; a quick search of our site will bring up several who we’ve interviewed. And as one of us [LC] is a Master’s Candidate in a recognized field of biblical scholarship, I would fit within the definition of a ‘bible scholar’ for most practical purposes. I don’t consider myself a ‘Bible-thumping simpleton’, and if I’m a fundamentalist, it’s in the original sense of the word. Yet I believe in biblical creation, and I believe this is the only way to make sense out of how Jesus and the New Testament authors used Genesis. See The Use of Genesis in the New Testament.

The basic question everyone has to answer on this issue is this: is your authority God’s Word, or this week’s scientific pronouncements? The Big Bang of 20 years ago is nothing like the Big Bang of today. The missing links of 20 years ago are nothing like the missing links today. We know that the vast majority of what science has authoritatively said over the years about the past is wrong, and we’re pretty sure a lot of what we think about origins science today is wrong. Importantly, what is your definition of science anyway when it comes to interpreting our origins? Please read “It’s not science”, for example, which highlights the limitations of operational science when it comes to determining the past. So who in their right mind would trust ever-changing interpretation over the Bible?

Although you attempt to hurl a weighty argument here (using no more than insults), it is clear that you have not realized the limitations, and thus, have bought into the evolution plus millions of years fallacies masquerading as science. Unfortunately, your ad hominem attack seems to a be a projection of your own less than informed bias, so respectfully, we wonder who is the most ignorant in this regard? The Bible has been scrutinized more than any other book in history—and rightly so, because it claims to be the unique revelation from God regarding the origin of life, the intrusion of sin and death, and what God has done about it. And I would argue that the Bible has stood up to the scrutiny and shown itself to be unique, and worthy of our full trust as God’s revelation to us.

We certainly don’t reject science. We employ lots of scientists, most of them former evolutionists who accepted the millions of years. And they all gained their Ph.D.s and degrees in the same secular universities as their evolutionary counterparts. So, the ‘science’ that you stake so much authority in would not appear to be the issue.

You certainly never supplied any ‘fact’ of science to indicate where our article was wrong, but most importantly, if you profess to be a Christian who attempts to harmonize Scripture with a secular view of the world, you seemed to have missed the big picture point. That is, the secular interpretation of geology implies millions of years of death and suffering in the fossil record. Clearly the Bible does not speak about such time frames, because they don’t exist in Scripture. The big problem is that the secular geology must place death before the Fall and the existence of Adam and Eve, and thus, it makes a mockery of the redemptive acts of Christ. BTW it’s clear you did not bother to read the other links in the article. It doesn’t help if one chooses to be not informed.

Clearly you accept science, or correctly, man’s interpretation of scientific data over Scripture. As such, you will be like the man who built his house on the sand instead of the rock, as the Lord Jesus spoke about. This is because, as we have already mentioned, scientific interpretations of the past have changed over time. In short, if you marry your theology to today’s science, you will be widowed tomorrow. Fundamentally, if you accept science, rather than the Bible, as your authority, I’m afraid we’re at an impasse, because our fundamentally different starting points make any agreement impossible.

Michael G., Australia, 14 October 2011

I know that your work is GREAT. I love reading every GOOD thing you put forth to back up Scripture. Please keep up the good work!!!!! The world needs to know that Jesus & the Holy Bible are TRUE. Amen!!

John W., Australia, 14 October 2011

Thank you for your consistent emphasis on the validity of God’s Word. It is refreshing to read articles that promote the Sovereignty of God throughout His creation and in His plan of salvation. There is far too much "Christian?" literature available to-day which denigrates God and exalts man.

David G., Australia, 14 October 2011

It may be worth noting that Hutton didn’t just ‘come up’ with the notion of uniformitarianism, but as a deist, was arguably concerned to make God distant from the cosmos, and reduce the cosmos to mere mechanism. It was an outworking of his religious views that lead, it seems, to his assertions about the world.

The great irony is that Hutton probably saw his religion having an effect on the cosmos, whereas many Christians seem to be able to separate the material cosmos from God’s action, relegating the creator to some sort of distant, uninvolved ‘upper storey’ being, comparatively uninvolved in the world in which we live!

Shawn O., US, 14 October 2011

I am finishing a degree in physical anthropology, which is heavily based in evolution (not why I’m in it). I was not very worried about the process of creation (i.e. 6 days vs 6 billion years), as I thought it was not worth debating, and certainly not as important as salvation. However, after reading the article, I can see the huge glaring hole in the old earth model for Christians of death and suffering before the fall. I appreciate this article, which has made me understand the importance of holding to the literal account in Genesis rather than giving any leeway or compromise.

Yvonne C., Australia, 16 October 2011

I believe the the last sentence of this article says it all,“and because Jesus clearly believed in a literal historical Genesis, so should we”.

Stephen D., United States, 14 October 2011

This article is very good! I’ve been trying to explain to a friend the importance of the accuracy of the Genesis accounts. I’ll be sharing this with him. It’ll explain it so much better then I can off the top of my head!

Thanks for Infobytes! the letters are always exciting!

Andrew M., United Kingdom, 19 October 2011

Thank you for your very clear presentation on the subject. My thinking is becoming much clearer, as so much makes sense with fossil record if you accept the flood catastrophe rather than try to explain ‘layers of rock laid down over billions of years’.

Glenn T., UK, 20 October 2011

Thank you for this thought provoking article which awakened my understanding of the importance of scrutenizing views commonly held by western society at large as well as challenging me on whether I have truly taken the Bible at face value instead of trying to interpret it through the lens of popular theories

Elisabeth C., US, 20 October 2011

WOW! Just wow! I hope that sometime I will have the opportunity to show or e-mail this article to my biosphere teacher! She is a theistic evolutionist, and this has some excellent arguments against that! Thanks so much for all you do. I love reading the articles that come through my inbox!

Linda F., Canada, 19 November 2011

I love reading your articles, to me they are very much on the real science. The article was very true to understand God’s creation. We are teaching our youth of creation, for they do not get this in school. And as I can see is the fundamental base on believing in God. If we cannot believe God can create in six days, why would we ever believe in His miracles today? Why do we think we are smarter than God, isn’t that the same temptation to Adam and Eve, that made them fall to begin with? We may never understand God’s power, and we need to get over it, He is God—that is what Faith is all about. I rather be known as a simpleton and believe in God’s science than mans. Thanks you for all your hard work to show us a way to teach our children the true origin of creation, and never compromising. God Bless

mark B., United States, 26 March 2012

I read your article and found it a bit misleading. It sounds like the same kind of stuff the flat earth people would use to defend their argument. I suggest reading the book "The Evolution of Adam" by Pete Enns. Just because you read the creation story and want to keep it's "literal" meaning doesn't make it true.

Lita Cosner and Gary Bates responds

Dear Mark,

Yes, we're aware of Peter Enns, he's published articles with BioLogos, which exists to fit evolution into the Bible, and eventually becomes its own syncretistic evolutionary religion. He is on the record stating that there can't be a literal Adam and Eve. And he says “Most Christians understand that, even though the Bible assumes a certain way of looking at the cosmos, from a scientific point of view the Bible is wrong. And that is perfectly fine [emphases his].” (citation in the web article linked above).

Your email doesn't make it completely unambiguous whether you are a Bible believer or not. If you don't believe the Bible, fine—but why would you expect to get an audience among people who do?

If you do believe the Bible, then how on earth can you so flippantly deny something that is not only in Genesis, but woven throughout Scripture and particularly in the New Testament. The thing is, Paul believed in a literal Adam and used him as a type of Christ both when he is describing how we are saved (Romans 5:12-21), and how we can be confident that we will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15). Jesus believed in a literal Adam and used him to explain to the Pharisees about God's design for marriage (Matthew 19). Peter and Jesus both believed in a global flood as a worldwide judgment—and both paralleled it to the judgment when Jesus comes again (Luke 17, 1 Peter 3). The first part of Hebrews 11 cites people as examples of faith that many so-called 'evangelicals' wouldn't even accept as historical.

The thing is, Christianity is rooted in history, and especially in the history of Genesis 1-3 that explains why we need to be saved in the first place. We don't take it 'literally', we take it plainly—that is, how the author means for it to be taken.

I hope you see by now that our view is much more sophisticated than the flat earth stereotype. Faced with the choice of either believing the current changeable opinion of secular scientists or believing the Word of God, I will choose the latter. You see here’s the fundamental problem of your reasoning that you don’t seem to realize. Nowhere in Scripture would you plainly read that the earth is billions of years old or that there were ape-like ancestors before Adam. Those views are derived from a secular scientific view from outside of what the Bible says. So, ultimately a non-Christian view of the world becomes your filter for interpreting a Christian Bible. So, if the science of the world claimed that the earth was flat (to use your analogy), which was a common belief of the ancients, one would have to take that view in precedence over Scripture, whereas the Bible has always taught a spherical Earth (see Isaiah 40:22).

Milo F., Australia, 28 March 2012

I am sure that you have missed the message of Genesis. There is a Jewish saying "The whole far out weighs the sum total of the small parts." Genesis 1 represents God as unfathomable because of the way He created ie he speaks and His word becomes what He has spoken. In Genesis 2, He is presented as a man. Put the 2 stories together, you have the all knowing God who could create with a spoken word is right here with us. Mans hand becomes His, mans mind and whole body becomes His. Genesis is presenting God but not a literal creation. Jews know this as fact because this is their theology. I am sorry to say that Jesus did not see Genesis literally as you believe. He was a Jew. I believe that science is the vehicle and theology is life. Your science presentation is commendable but you lack knowledge of Jewish theology.

Lita Cosner and Gary Bates responds

Dear Milo,

Thanks for writing in. The thing is, Jesus claims that the Law and the prophets point to Him, so any person or system of theology who misses that is so wrong that I wouldn’t take it as an authority on anything else. Jewish theology today is a result of the Rabbis who wrote the Talmud and Mishnah, who are the descendants of the Pharisees who Jesus opposed—yet a further reason to reject modern Jewish theology.

I agree that Genesis presents God to us—the whole Bible does that. But I don’t think the author intended us to create artificial breaks in the account—from creation to the patriarchs is one story. So what I think Genesis shows us is a God who is transcendent, but who can come down and be seen by people. He is holy and judges people, but he is merciful. And already in Genesis we see the seeds of the Gospel.

The authoritative interpretation of Genesis is that of the rest of Scripture, and the New Testament authors took Genesis as history: see Genesis in the New Testament. The theological points cannot be separated from the historical narrative—if the history is wrong, the theology is meaningless, because Moses is presenting a God who acts in history, not a mere philosophical construct.

Moreover, I would suggest that the reason people come up with novel interpretations like your own is because they have accepted the ‘science’ of the world and feel the need to squeeze it into the biblical texts somewhere. You could not demonstrate a clear plain understanding of any biblical passage in Genesis or anywhere else that uses the expression millions or billions of years. When one does this it highlights that the Bible is not the authority or the filter through which they view the world. (See It's not science.) Rather, the world’s scientific interpretations are used to interpret Scripture. As those interpretations are changeable, will you need to reinterpret the biblical texts when secular scientists (those who start from outside the Bible anyway) change their minds again? This has happened many times before.

Also in your response you seemed to miss a major theological problem that cannot be ignored if you claim to be a Christian. The article went to great lengths to point out that the idea of millions of years is based upon an interpretation of geologic strata. Those strata have fossils in them which chronologically would place lots of death and bloodshed before Adam, which then would make theological nonsense of the reason Christ came to die for us.

The origin of sin (what Jesus came to pay for) is found in the book of Genesis. If Genesis is not real literal history, with a literal Adam and Eve, and if sin, the Fall and death did not literally enter the world through their actions, then we (including you) don’t need to be saved from anything.

We recommend that you simply trust the Scriptures as read, after all they claim to be inspired by the very One who came to save us.

Sincerely,

Lita Cosner and Gary Bates

Gregg E., United States, 21 April 2012

I really appreciated this article. It gives a clear view on how an evolutionary world view undermines the central tenants of the Bible. I believe that many people (i.e. Christians) will often accept a comment about the Bible without considering the ramifications to that belief. ("If A is true, then are B and C true as well?") I might also recommend the book "IN SIX DAYS: Why fify scientists choose to believe in creation". Some of the articles are short and to the point, others are more lengthy and thought provoking. Nevertheless, they all point to a literal six day creation.

Matt D., United Kingdom, 23 April 2012

Great article. I'm able to give no criticism whatsoever. 'nuff said.

Ralph P., South Africa, 1 June 2012

Please keep the articles coming. I love them. They give me so much imformation which I am able to help others with.

Love you guys

Robert B., United States, 2 June 2012

In this article, like too many seeking to make arguments founded upon the Bible, the author fails to see the fundamental reason those arguments will never convince skeptics: they employ the flawed circular reasoning of self-proof. By using the Bible itself as reason, rationale, justification or evidence, you only further convince the skeptical reader of the paucity of your argument. Repeatedly, you rely upon citations from within the Bible as if they are irrefutable truth. However, the skeptic inherently assumes that any biblical assertion (or an assertion founded upon a Biblical passage) is potentially invalid unless it is backed up by one or more independent secondary pieces of evidence, and is not credibly refuted by other evidence. Therefore, any number of secondary citations from other biblical passages, while supportive, are not sufficient to validate if the statement or argument is challenged by reasoned argument or independently derived data. Did Jesus exist? Yes, the probability is high based upon both biblical and non-biblical records. Was He the Son of God? That depends on the establishment of the existence of God, which has never been done, and whether God had a son -and if so, was that Jesus- neither of which has been established from sources independent of the Bible.

Lita Cosner responds

This article was not written primarily to skeptics, but to Christians, who might well be expected to take the Bible's clear pronouncements as authoritative. And Jesus and the apostles were not shy about using the Bible's pronouncements as authoritative, as shown in The Use of Genesis in the New Testament.

Given the Bible's track record as far as historical accuracy, I think that we can trust it—even if it happens to be the only witness to a certain place, people group, event, or fact. Time and time again modern archaeology and new discoveries of ancient documents and artifacts corroborate the Bible's historical claims.

Would we expect a source independent of those found in Scripture (remember, they're 66 independent documents in one binding) to be a reliable primary source about God and salvation? Christians believe that Scripture alone is authoritative. And these are primarily theological and historical questions, so by definition they can't be 'proved' in the scientific sense that you'd like them to be.

Peter B., Australia, 11 June 2012

Thank you for your "exhuastive" analysis and particularly instruction on how to answer critics, sceptics & non-believers. Most particularly the motive...that is to win souls, not just an argument.

Randy F., United States, 6 July 2012

WOW! This is the best article on this subject I have ever read. However, I didn’t see where the apparent age of the cosmos was addressed in it. You know the “millions of light years between one star or galaxy to another and the time it takes for light to travel between them etc, etc, etc...”

I fully accept the Biblical account of creation of 6 days and totally reject this idea of evolution, yet I also hold with the notion that there are mysteries contained therein that are not fully explained to mankind. Evidence made by observation of the cosmos may well present the age of the universe to be yea so many billions of years old to mankind as far as mankind can understand it from a finite point of view. What is impossible for man is not impossible for GOD.

Well, that’s my take on it anyway. I welcome your response.

Lita Cosner responds

Thanks for your kind comments. While this article focuses on the geological issues, we've written at some length elsewhere about the age of the cosmos. Some of the best and most relevant articles can be found at our Astronomy Q&A.

Richard H., United States, 21 July 2012

I can't remember if satan and the fallen angels sinned before the creation of Adam but if they did, would not evil already have existed? Evil I understand is an action against the will of God. If God would allow evil even in heaven why would he not allow death before the fall of man kind. Thanks

Lita Cosner responds

Satan likely fell after Day 7 (which God blessed), but obviously before he tempted Eve. But Satan wasn't the corporate head of creation—Adam was. Also, Adam's sin only affected the physical creation—the Fall didn't have effect for Heaven (the place God chooses to dwell) or the holy angels. Or the fallen angels, for that matter—they fell as a result of their own rebellion.

Ken Z., United States, 8 February 2013

A person has two choices:

1) He align his thinking with God by studying the Bible, or

2) He align his thinking with the god of this world, Satan, by listening to the pagan voices.

The first choice occurs by the grace of Yahweh Elohim. God is saving his elect. He has reserved the rest for judgement.

Pray that the lord [Yahweh] of the harvest will send laborers to HIS harvest.

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