but is it science · science and philosophy

Genesis creation reconciled to an old earth

Creation Story reconciled to an old earth and scientific evidence:

The only disagreements between scientific truth and the Genesis account are based onmichelangelo-sistine-chapel-adam certain assumptions that everything, including the earth itself was created in the seven literal days described in the first chapter of Genesis. However, the first day of creation starts with Genesis 1:3.  According to Old Earth, Gap or Restoration creationists the entire history of the creation of the universe is contained in the Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” This reconciles the Genesis account with the scientific record, whether the seven days after that are assumed to be 24 hour days or longer periods of time. The original word “Yom” means both a single day and a longer time, as in “…in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, …”  – Genesis 2:4


“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” –Genesis 1:1


In old earth creationism, this includes the whole history of the creation and formation of the universe, the galaxy, the solar system and the earth in the ages before the seven days’ account. It includes the entire fossil and stratified mineral record of the earth.  According to ruin and restoration creationism, as our story opens, the earth has been devastated, wiping out most or all life.


“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis 1:2


This could describe a ruined planet, not necessarily a new planet without a history.   Picture, for example, a planet after an asteroid impact that raised so much dust, ash, water and smoke into the air that the light from the sun was blotted out.  We are not told most of the details, whether it is in this period or the seven days period.  Genesis describes what happened, not the details of how it happened.


“And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven.” –Luke 10:18


In this quote from Jesus, it is possible that Satan, after his expulsion from heaven, kept distorting God’s creation causing God to erase it and start over; or maybe it was just a stage in the long process of preparing the earth for us with fertile soils, minerals and metals, an atmosphere with the right mix of gases, moisture and temperatures, and oceans with the right mineral content to sustain life.

God valued freedom of will so much that even Satan was allowed freedom of action, but could only distort, not create anything.  After his expulsion from heaven, Satan’s goal has been to spoil everything God does or loves.

What about the common belief that death only entered when man fell?


“But of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” – Genesis 2:17


Since Adam and Eve did not physically die on the day they disobeyed, what that meant was obviously spiritual death, not physical death, which would come much later. Death was known to Adam or the words would have had no meaning to him.  However, after the fall, it was necessary to remove their access to the Tree of Life to keep Adam and Eve from living forever in their sinful state.  This is probably why Adam and several generations after him lived so long (until the effects of the Tree of Life had diminished).  Outside the garden, life was already a battle for existence, so that their expulsion from the garden thrust them into a daily struggle for food and other necessities.  God created plants as the ultimate source of food, but also created predators and other carnivores that ate herbivores, which used plants for food.

Let’s look at the seven days in this scenario of a ruined earth being reborn

Day 1 – LIGHT


“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” – Genesis 1: 3-5


This could have been that the dust settled enough to allow filtered light through the cloud cover distinguishing night from day.

Day 2 – ATMOSPHERE


“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” – Genesis 1: 6-8


Clouds, rain and seas appear as the air clears further.

Day 3 – DRY LAND; PLANTS


“And God said let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear; and it was so.” Genesis 1:9-10


Seas, streams and dry ground appeared as the constant rain abated.


“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth ; and it was so.” – Genesis 1:11-13.


As soon as dry ground appeared, plants began growing.

Day 4 – SUN, MOON AND STARS


“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” – Genesis 1:14-19


The only way this makes any sense, logically, is if the sun, moon and stars were already there, but had been hidden behind thick clouds.  Since plants grew and there was light before this, it doesn’t make any sense for the sun not to be created until the fourth day.  It can only mean that the air cleared enough so that the heavenly bodies became visible on earth at that time.

Day 5 – SEA CREATURES AND BIRDS


“And God said, let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” – Genesis 1: 20-22.


Animal life in the seas and the air appeared.

Day 6 – LAND ANIMALS AND HUMANS


“And God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” – Genesis 1:24-25.


Animals on the land appeared.


“And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1: 25-27.


Men and women were created.


“And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:28


God instructs men to multiply and replenish the earth.   This is a hint that the earth was formerly inhabited before the devastation occurred, whether by humans or only animals is not clear.  In some translations, the word is translated as “fill.” The other occurrences of the word in the Bible clearly mean to replenish or replace what was lost, not just to fill[1].   The verses that follow imply a vegetarian diet, but don’t explicitly say none of the animals would eat meat.

This description of the creation of humans has been debated by theologians for centuries. Is this separate from Adam and Eve? Were there other humans on the earth when Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden? Since Adam and Eve did not have children in the garden and were not told to replenish the earth, I would like to suggest that, after the six days of creation when man was first created, Satan again entered and distorted the creation, including man, into a wild, savage state. Whether Adam was included in this creation of man or was specially created later, is the only point debated. Most theologians today assume that this account is an alternate description of the creation of Adam as the first man.  However, in keeping with the text, it is possible that, after a day of rest, God created a special undefiled man (Adam) and placed him in a specially planted garden for his protection.


“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed” – Genesis 2:7-8.


Note that Adam was made before he was placed in the garden. This implies that Adam experienced the savage, spoiled world before entering the garden.  The verses just before this say that there was no one to till the soil.  So if other men existed, they must have been hunter-gatherers or shepherds, not farmers. We are also not told how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden before they aspired to be like God and fell from grace through willful disobedience.

Conclusions:  As you can see, it is fairly easy to reconcile the Genesis account of creation with known scientific facts.  God invented science, and He created an ordered and intelligible universe that man can study to learn its secrets.  Science is based on the assumption that the universal laws are the same everywhere and at any time in the past, present or future.  God, having created a logical world, doesn’t have to break these laws to accomplish His ends. God can use them to create, destroy or modify anything for His purposes.  Miracles, while outside our understanding, don’t necessarily have to break God’s laws either, only use them in unique ways we don’t understand.

To insist that the seven days described in Genesis 1:3-2:4 describe creation from nothing (ex nihilo) in contradiction to scientific facts, is at best naïve or traditional and at worst delusional. God didn’t ask us to suspend reason to believe in Him.  Nor is He a deceiver.  Young Earth beliefs are harmful because they ask Christians to reject science, make it difficult for thinking people to embrace Christianity and give our atheist, materialist enemies ammunition to discredit ALL of our beliefs, even a belief in the existence of God or any spiritual realm.

That is why our enemies would prefer us to reject science and insist on a seven literal days of creation from nothing, which was a straw man argument when presented by Darwin et al.  When we embrace science and reconcile it to the Bible, most of their arguments disappear.  In an effort to discredit the political arguments for Darwinian Evolution,  many Christians have fallen into the trap of embracing the straw man presented by our enemies instead of reasonably trying to reconcile science and the Bible.

[1] Isaiah 2:6; Jeremiah 31:25; Ezekiel 26:2

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