Old Earth Young Civilization

Q. I read your article “And There Was Evening And There Was Morning”, where you say you are OK with an old earth. How is this possible? In Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 the word of God is very plain that God created the earth and sea and heaven and everything in it, in six days and rested on the seventh day. Therefore if we have been here just over 6,000. years, then so has the earth. You and I believe that these six days were 24 hour days. God created the earth mature as He did Adam and Eve. The earth would look and everything would appear old, but was only created just over 6,000. years ago. So in essence we have a young earth.

A. In Genesis 1:1 we’re told that God created the Heaven and the Earth. The Hebrew word for created is “bara” a word that’s used only to describe the power of God. It implies starting from scratch. In Exodus 20:11 & 31:17 Moses didn’t use “bara”. Instead he used “asah”, a word that means to make something, like a man might take some lumber and make a house.

In Genesis 2:4 he used both words. First God created the heaven and the Earth and then he made the Earth into a place suitable for habitation. Nothing in the 6 day creation account requires these two acts to be simultaneous.

Then in Isaiah 45:18, a third word was added. First the Lord created it, then He made it, and then He formed it. The word for formed is yatsar, which means to fashion something from something else, like a potter forms a vase out of a lump of clay.

Isaiah said the Lord didn’t create the Earth formless. This seems to be a contradiction of Genesis 1:2 which seems to say the Earth was formless at first. But if you look at the Hebrew of Genesis 1:2 in its most literal sense, you discover that it reads, “but the Earth became formless and void” instead of “and the Earth was formless and void.” The Hebrew words translated formless and void mean an uninhabitable ruin, implying that some kind of destructive act made it that way. It appears that something happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 that turned the Earth into an uninhabitable ruin, since God didn’t make it this way. Then we’re also told that darkness was on the face of the deep at that time.

Setting aside the speculation about what might have caused this, it appears that a span of time might have passed between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 1:3 when God said “Let there be light” and the six 24 hour day creation account began.

This is why I said that I’m OK with an old Earth and a young civilization, and that such a belief is compatible with a 6 day creation account.

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