Q. First of all I would like to thank you for your site; it’s a rich source of wisdom. I agree with all your view and interpretations. However there is one which I believe needs more clarification.
I read an article concerning the debate over the earth’s age. In it (the author) makes many points which dismiss the possibility of the earth being 6000 years old. He then concludes that the gap theory could be the answer.
However I don’t agree. Almost all of the ‘facts’ he states require at least one of the following to exist between verses 1 and 2 in the bible; death to exist, land to be on the formless earth, vegetation to exist, people to exist and the speed of light to be constant.
However, (to be brief) there was no land for meteors to impact, or for volcanic explosions to erupt from. There was no sea coral slowly growing before God made plants.
My question is; how can we explain all these apparent ‘facts’ as they clearly do not have a place in the gap theory and neither do the fit in our biblical history. Please help me with this because if I was questioned on this matter I really don’t know how I could respond.
A. The simple answer to your question is that there is no simple answer. By definition Science requires observation, and there weren’t any human observers when God created things. But here’s what we do know. According to Job 38:7, some portions of the creation had to have preceded Genesis 1 because the angels were there to observe it, and according to Isaiah 14:12-20, Ezekiel 28:11-19, & Luke 10:18 Lucifer was judged sometime in the ancient past.
We also know that our English translation of Genesis 1:2 is not free from controversy. Rather than saying “and the earth was formless and void” as most English Bibles do, some believe that a more literal translation of the Hebrew would read “but the Earth became formless and void.” If correct this would indicate that something caused the earth’s destruction at that time. This is a crucial point in the Gap Theory and is one of its components to which I subscribe. This destruction / re-construction view is supported by the only other places in Scripture where the Hebrews words for “formless and void” appear. In Isaiah 45:18 God said that He didn’t create Earth “formless” and in Jeremiah 4:23 Jeremiah sees the earth “formless and void” in the context of a judgment.
These things give some scholars justification for speculating that the rebellion and judgment of Satan occurred between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, and that the earth became “formless and void” (the Hebrew literally means “an uninhabitable ruin”) for some undetermined period of time as a result of that judgment. If so, then the age of the planet would be much different than the age of civilization.
While the Bible doesn’t specifically confirm this, neither does it deny it, and this view creates no conflict with the Creation Story, which really begins in Genesis 1:3 with Day One.
I haven’t done enough research to agree or disagree with everything that this author wrote in his article, although I have found him to be a rational man in his beliefs, and not inclined to offer opinions lightly.
But I do agree that requiring Earth and Man to be the same age is not Biblically mandated and needlessly undermines our position in the evolution / creation debate. The idea that life evolved as evolutionists claim should be the laughable position, but some Creationists’ insistence that Earth and Man came on the scene together have the evolutionists laughing at us instead.
As to how to answer the questions of scoffers, I would say that neither Scientists nor Theologians have all the answers to questions about our origins. But the issue confronting us is not about our origin. It’s about our destiny and the alternatives are clear. It’s either believe God or don’t. Since we won’t know from experience that we made the right choice until it’s too late, believing God is the only logical thing to do. If believing Him is wrong, we’ll simply get the destiny that was always intended for us, no harm, no foul. But if we’re right, we’ll be blessed beyond measure.
However for unbelievers it’s just the opposite. If they’re right, they’ll just get the destiny always intended for them, but if they’re wrong they’ll burn in Hell forever. It’s a no-brainer.
You may not convince everybody, but you’ll at least have them looking in the right direction.