Scriptural References in Relation to The Age of the Earth, Animal Death and Noah's Flood
The earth is young?
"Of OLD hast thou laid the foundations of the earth" Ps. 102:25
Note: Hills are given greater antiquity than mountains -- a geologically correct description.
The Word translated "day" in Genesis 1 necessarily means a 24hr day?
"IN the DAY that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens" Gen.
2 Pet. 3:3
Note: The same or essentially the same original word as in Gen. 1 is translated "day" in every quote.
The expression, "evening and morning" applied to the day of Gen 1 confirms they were 24hr days as we experience them?
"To offer burnt offering...continually MORNING and EVENING" 1 Chron.
Note: The expression, "evening and morning", refers to periods of work opportunity. The morning sarifice was offered at roughly 9 am and the evening sacrifice at 3 pm. But the Genesis account itself shows the days of creation were not limited to our evenings and mornings: the seventh had neither! (Gen. 2:1-3)
Animal death is wrong, and did not occur until Adam sinned?
"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord make coats of skins and
clothed them" Gen. 3:21
Note: The Scriptures make abundantly clear that animals have no eternal significance.
The Noahic flood produced the bulk of the rock strata?
"A river went out of Eden...it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first IS Pison [currently unidentified]: that is it which COMPASSETH the whole land of Havilah, where there IS gold...the name of the second...IS Gihon [also currently unidentified]...the name of the third river IS Hiddekel [Tigris]: that is it which GOETH [at the time of writing, after the flood] towards the east of Assyria. And the fourth river IS Euphrates." Gen. 2:10-14
Note: Man's sojourn in Eden pre-dated the great flood, probably by approximately fifteen hundred years. Genesis by general consensus was committed to writing by Moses, no earlier than 1500 B.C. Adam and the writing of Genesis were therefore separated in time by thousands of years, and by Noah's flood. If this event shaped the features of the earth's surface, the author of Genesis could not refer his readers to major topographic features of his world, identifying them as also being features of the pre-flood world.
Mist, not rain, watered the earth prior to the great
THREE QUESTIONS 24-HR. DAY CREATIONISM SHOULD ANSWER
The darwinistic theory of the origin of species, being quite obviously at odds with both observation and divine Revelation, may safely be dismissed. Whether or not parts of it can be salvaged, time will tell. The hypothesis that everything was divinely created at a point in time, concurs with both Scripture and logic. Provided we keep in mind those detrimental mutations that were a product of the curse, and maintain an open and rational view on the procedures employed by the Creator, we should eventually arrive at a creation model harmonizing with both science and Scripture.
The Word of God assures us that all matter came into existence at a point in time. As we all know, even before this happened, everything had already been created, in its finished state. God had thought of it – therefore it had been done, in perfection. It had been created in perfection in the Eternal Dimension. The question that has exercised human minds for centuries is the question of how it was revealed or manifested in our Temporal Dimension.
It is altogether harmonious with logic, science, and Scripture, to visualize creation in a moment, "in the beginning", "in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens". Many people will wish to proceed no further with the topic. Provided the subsequent manifestation of certain agents of disease and destitution through the curse is taken into account, this is a totally appropriate view of Creation. When God created, he created instantly and perfectly – and we need enquire no further.
Others desire a more detailed account of those momentous events. The procedures involved in manifestation into the Temporal Dimension are important to them. Hence, the seven-day account of physical manifestation. This manifestation occurred in time. It involved a series of actions.
The way we interpret those actions and their timing is our personal affair.
Matters such as these are certainly not central or essential to faith. Heaven will doubtless be populated by a kaleidoscope of ideas about origins. Those ideas will have had no bearing on the redemptive status of those who held them. Rather than pointing us toward a narrow view of such technical details, the Scriptures specifically warn against it.
The Scriptures also inform us that they do not contain a single technical fact that does not have some personal or deeper spiritual implication.
The holy Scriptures are entirely profitable for instruction in righteousness,
but less profitable for instruction in doctrinal
Notwithstanding their warning against divisiveness based on technicalities, they enjoin us to know the mind of Christ, to be fully conversant with his words. His words begin at Genesis 1:1. His words are perfectly self-harmonizing with all his other words, and whatever Christ says, science and observation will sooner or later confirm as true.
Modern, hard-line, twenty-four hour-day Creationism, as a personal philosophy, is entirely the right and prerogative of the person who holds to it. Doubtless, multitudes of this persuasion will be found in Heaven. Those who hold to it are to be commended for their fidelity.
Modern, hard-line Creationism as a self-proclaimed niche creationist movement soliciting funds in the name of the Scriptures and science, has to justify its exclusivist policies, or in honesty abandon its exclusivism.
Hard-line Creationism is here taken to mean an exclusivist view of the universe as but thousands of years old, the bulk of the rock strata being a product of Noah's flood, those rocks which were not a product of the flood either pre-existing it or being deposited soon after it. The motivation for such a precipitate, recent creation presumably derives at least partially from the need for sunlight to sustain plant life. If all plants were growing on earth on the third day, and the sun, moon , and stars did not appear until the fourth, then the third must have been of very short duration. So proceeds the gist of the argument; and numerous other appendages, such as the notion of no animal death prior to Adam's sin, are attached to it. And this has been held by some to be the only true interpretation, to be supportable by objective observation, and to be grounds for soliciting funding. The inadvised retreat into exclusivism took place only in the final quarter of the Twentieth Century: prior to this, some creationist bodies embracing a variety of streams of interpretation could readily be found.
If any wish to pursue a theory, that is their prerogative: if any wish to publish a theory, and especially to publish it as though it has backing from objective observation and from the Scriptures, the public rightly is entitled to know the nature of the confirmatory backing.
Therefore, if end-of-20th-Century Hard-Line Creationism wishes to claim credibility in the eyes of the public, the public is entitled to know where it stands in relation to basic matters – such as the basic matters of scientific truth, compatibility with the Scriptures, and alignment with the thoughts of great men of the christian Religion. It is only right and equal for the following three questions to be asked of this movement:
1). Does its method of Bible interpretation fully align with established methods of Bible interpretation?
The Scriptures are entirely profitable for instruction in righteousness, so that a christian can become fully effective thereby. They are unprofitable if used only as a source of powerless facts. Every word of God potentially has power, and every part of Scripture is intended to be interpreted in a way that can cause the hearer to grow. How did the apostles interpret Scripture? Peter dealt with the question of the Day. Did he enter into a complicated discourse to enjoin us to regard it only as 24-hour? "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Peter dealt with the subject of baptism. Did he confine his teaching on baptism merely to a ceremony, or emphasize the technical aspects of it? See how he steers us away from an emphasis on a procedure, whilst giving the power behind the procedure: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the physical washing as such, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), by the resurrection of Jesus Christ ... ." Turning to Paul: in referring to the Old Testament account of Abraham's sons, he tells nothing of the mere technical detail, but extracts a powerful allegory that speaks volumes. "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman ... . Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar ... . is in bondage with her children; but Jerusalem which is above is free ... . Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise ... ." Paul goes further. In his interpretation of an Old Testament law, he shows the obvious technical meaning to be almost trivial, compared to the deeper meanings (this certainly does not mean that all Old Testament laws of every category are to be seen as allegorical): "For it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope ... ." And so, down through the ages and in the present day, recognized men of the Word read the word for its power and its fuller meanings. Many throughout the history of Christianity have thought of the seven days of creation as corresponding to the time-span of our week: but this was for them a mere aside. Their interest lay in the power and the full meaning of those days, rather than their duration in time. Whenever men stuck on the mere superficial, technical questions, difficulties tended to surface. (The student of history will see that if Creationism has a problem in this matter, it is Luther's problem of an occasional too hasty, emphatic assertion, rather than the mindless conformity of a deceived world religion. Creationism is to be commended for following truth rather than popularity or power.)
Both the concept of the Day and of God's creative works are developed throughout the Scriptures. The New Testament speaks of the physical creation and God's ongoing creation in human lives as though they are in a sense the same. The Bible leaves no doubt that the physical creation speaks in many ways of the new creation which the Spirit works in people's lives. When those who have experienced something of the work of divine grace in their lives read the account of the physical creation, they cannot but see some parallels. The bursting in of light. The stable rock in the midst of changing waters. The rain in a barren wilderness. Increasing beauty and fruitfulness over time. And more.
There are a thousand useful sermons to be found in the first chapter of the Bible.
The question modern, hard-line Creationism would do well to answer: are any of those potential sermons or messages made one whit better by insisting on twenty-four hour days?
2). Is the theory of a young earth coupled with Noah's Flood Geology compatible with Scripture?
Whether we do or do not visualize the days of creation as a 168 hour week has no bearing whatsoever on our personal status or eternal destiny.
Personal belief and personal status with God are matters for the individual.
Creation theories employed in education are matters for public evaluation, especially by that segment of the public that funds the education or is involved with that education.
If a model claims precedence on the grounds of biblical content, it is the right of those concerned to be able to understand its biblical content.
The way we think of a day is a personal matter: the publishing and teaching of a theory based on the length of a day is in some measure a public matter.
There are extreme difficulties involved in attempting to reconcile hard-line 24-hr. Creationism (and its corollary, Noah's Flood Geology) with the biblical narrative.
Only a few points of difficulty need be mentioned: the Bible is open for consultation: any who wish to pursue the matter in depth may freely do so.
Nowhere do the Scriptures speak of a young earth. They repeatedly speak of the earth as though it was founded long ago, and attribute almost incalculable age to some of its bedrocks – the ancient, perpetual, even everlasting hills.
The only way to read Genesis literally appears to be to assume that the Creator made the species before he placed them on the earth; and that after some of them had been in essence made and given life, they were in a sense modified before being revealed. Otherwise how can verses such as Genesis 2:4&5; 1:11 compared with 2:9; 1:21 compared with 2:19; be read literally? All plants pre-existed, or the king's English is no longer the king's English. Some of them did not visibly activate until the times of the Garden of Eden, or the Bible is implying something that it does not imply. All winged life was made on a water base, and earthy fliers (true birds etc.) were modified of earth and visibly activated subsequent to manifestation of the watery fliers (insects), or the Bible is flatly contradicting itself. What value to a scheme of pre-existence is a recent creation? Why store a living species for a couple of minutes?
Finally: if the bulk of the rock strata was laid down after Adam, Eve, and the times of Eden, why does the Bible give the same topographic features to that part of the world in the times of Adam as in our times?
And we have really only begun to scratch the surface in this matter of scriptural compatibility!
3). Is this model scientifically tenable?
The short answer -- absolutely not. There is not one iota of evidence that can be used to prove a young earth, and only a limited amount is available to support that hypothesis. The Bible itself leads the charge towards longevity, and it is backed by proof upon proof.
A string of evidences for a young earth have been cited by hard-line creationists, some of whom had enough letters after their names to know better.
Shallow meteoric dust on the moon – an argument based on either willing or unwilling ignorance of the case. The truth is available for any who wish to pursue it. Those astronauts never expected thick dust.
Dearth of fossil meteorites – The case has only been partly misstated by those pursuing it: it cannot be entirely ruled out as evidence of youth, but the Bible itself seems to imply increasing meteorite activity as the end approaches, so this points to a near end, not a near beginning.
Pleochroic halos in granites, etc.. This is a technicality, but the amusing aspect lies in the fact that geologists have great difficulties and hold symposiums on how granites form, and if the creationist researchers pursuing these seemingly instantaneous halos could come up with a useful theory on granites, it might prove useful.
Earth's decaying magnetic field – some young-earth creationists have deduced that our magnetic field is losing power at a rate which proves it must have been started new not long ago. Whether it is in fact uniformly decaying at such a rate, and what this actually means, is as shrouded in mystery as the whole question of planetary magnetism has been shrouded in mystery up to this time. If anyone can be sure of this decay-rate, and especially if they can deduce why it might be happening, please come forward. It could be important. As for evidence of a young earth – it seems planetary magnetism has a habit of fluctuating.
Low concentrations of atmospheric helium – this argument turns a blind eye to the known fact that helium does in fact leach away into Space from Earth.
To explain how light can reach us in a matter of thousands of years from distant stars millions of light-years away, arguments have been put forward ranging from a dramatically slowed speed of light to the universe being an optical illusion. The slowing speed of light hypothesis is interesting in that it seems to demand that radioactive processes (which occur at the speed of light) were spectacularly active back at the beginning, and everything should therefore have blown up as a massive hydrogen bomb!
If any desire proof that the earth is either old or was created with that appearance, simply add up the total thickness of coaly material in the earth, multiply it by five, spread that thickness evenly over the land-masses – and you will have mosses, ferns, and other vegetation up to the clouds. Most of it without any of our modern vegetation mixed with it! And that is without even beginning to think about the oceans ten times as deep packed solid with shelled organisms to make the limestones. We have only just begun. The proofs mount up ad infinitum. If people will not believe what their eyes and the Bible tell them, nothing more can be done. The Bible is true, and the hills are ancient – or at least they were made to appear that way. To God be the glory.
Animal Death Prior to Adam's Fall?
One line of thought proceeds roughly as follows: The earth was made in seven twenty-four hour days, so is no more than several thousands of years old. Therefore the great bulk of rock strata must have been deposited quickly. The obvious candidate for this theory is the Noahic flood. Fitting into this model is the idea of little or no death or decay prior to Adam's fall. Since the whole world need have been no more than 200 hours old when Adam handed the keys of it over to the Prince of Darkness and Ruin, and animal life substantially younger than this, death of higher animals and decay in nature need not have occurred up to this time.
For supporting evidence we have: Genesis 1:29-31 – a script strongly suggestive of vegetarianism, perhaps amongst all animals everywhere and almost certainly in the Garden of Eden – the part of Earth that was paradise. The text almost certainly rules out the slaughter of animals or usage of animals for menial tasks in the Garden of Eden – the paradise man inherited and which he was entrusted to expand all over the earth. It also should be interpreted as implying an absence of carnivorous activity amongst animals in the Garden. It is not conclusive in the matter of carnivorous activity outside Paradise. It could be interpreted as implying that the "law of the jungle" was not then as universal or as savage as it now can be seen to be. So this text, whilst not proof absolute, does almost certainly exclude vicious carnivorous activity from Eden, and possibly implies that tooth, claw, and animal madness were not then quite as they are now.
Going on to Romans 8:18-24, especially verse 20:
"For the creature [that which was created] was made subject to vanity [seemingly empty pointlessness], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope . . .." This section of Scripture – of which verse 20 is only a part – informs us amongst other things of a definite divine plan or permission to subject the creature – that which had been created, or some part of creation – to seeming pointlessness, as part of a hidden overall purpose. So the Scriptures do not require a complete absence of retrogression, decay, or of animal death, prior to Adam. "The creature was made subject to vanity . . . by reason of him [God] who hath subjected the same in hope [in the end, something better will come of it]." The death of animals, and the "winding-down" and decay of nature, may appear pointless, inexplicable, counterproductive ... vanity: but that is God's prerogative, and the death of animals implies no injustice on his part. He sees the beginning and the end.
The death of a man, however, is no mere "vanity". An animal is a pre-programmed automaton: a man is all but a part of God himself. 1 Corinthians 15:21: "For by man came death . . .; by man came also the resurrection of the dead." Are our pets to be resurrected? There are remarkable creatures in heaven akin to heavenly animals or perhaps "pets," but these are not really animals. It is perfectly spurious and theologically impossible to postulate eternal life for animals. The death Adam brought on himself strikes basically at himself alone. Romans 5:12: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all . . . MEN." Men. Men.
The death which followed on the heels of sin specifically struck humanity. Death and retrogression were originally a feature of the world in which man was placed, but not of man himself. It may be God intended man to reverse this process of retrogression, for he instructed Adam to "replenish [consummate] the earth, and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28). Rather than consummation, Adam's disobedience brought ruin.
The other side of the coin of the rapid deposition – no-death-prior-to-Adam theory is the requirement that conventional geology is all but entirely mistaken, and traditional stratigraphy – the mapping and description of rock strata – is basically unsound. The attacks on stratigraphy which the theory makes, although worthy of consideration, are spurious. Inexplicable gaps and reversals in rock strata are the exception rather than the rule, and those who attempt to discredit conventional stratigraphy on the evidence of such anomalies tend to ignore this fact, as well as overlooking basic engineering principles. Certain softer minerals, and pressurised water, can act as almost perfect lubricants. Re-alignment of particles in shale can lead to the entire overburden resting on nothing but water. A configuration such as this could conceivably lead to spectacular movements. If we assume the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, of course, the anomalies are indeed difficult to explain; but when we add a time factor to colossal pressures, there are few of these anomalies which remain outside the realm of engineering possibility.
It is a questionable venture, employing a science (stratigraphy) to detect an anomaly, then employing the anomaly to discredit the science.
It is also suggested by proponents of the recent-origin-no-death theory that conventional stratigraphy denies catastrophes, or rapid burial under flood conditions. In reality, it lives on rapid burial. Theories of water-borne origin of coal have been a component of traditional geology almost since coal began to be studied. How can a stratigrapher map a thousand meters of sediment that is full of ripple-marks without believing in rapid burial? How can a ripple-mark on the bed of a sea or stream be preserved unless it is buried?
As for the objection that fossils are sometimes found out of place: it would be strange if they were not. Like any rock, fossils are amenable to removal from their host bed and redeposition in other strata. Just because a fossil is found in a bed of rock does not necessarily prove that it lived at the time during which the rock of which it is now a part was laid down.
Behind such attacks on conventional Geology lies the recent origins hypothesis. The earth was made in six days, therefore is no more than ten thousand years old. Belief or otherwise in such an hypothesis has no bearing on one's personal status or eternal destiny. It is an aside, a red herring. Of course, if the Scriptures did not say the world was made in 6 days, and yet in a day (Genesis 2:4), if they did not say all God's works were finished from the beginning (Hebrews 4:3), if they did not inform us that a day is as a thousand years in the sight of the Lord (2 Peter 3:8), if they did not contain their own evidence that either the 6 days were long or the earth was built with a fictitious appearance of age: if the Scriptures did not describe parts of the earth as ancient, and even everlasting – then this matter of age would be something other than a red herring.
It is impossible to be a literalist and yet dogmatically insist the days were necessarily 24-hour. Any who wish to settle this question once and for all need only consult Job 10:5, and take God at his word.
The Bible does not run away from observable facts. It does not require our puny assistance. A 10,000-or-so-year-old world is worth considering. Creation in a moment is a fact. Creation in six days of twenty-four hours is not a problem. It was done faster than that – from the moment God thought of it, in fact. But just because God is able to make everything in a moment, does not mean we can receive it in a moment. Or in 168 hours. It is impossible to convert a continent-sized block of granite into sand-grains and lay them out in a continent-sized bed inside 12 months, or inside 12 millennia, without boiling the water off the surface of the earth, or something equally traumatic. Neither is it a small thing to lay down continent-sized masses of magma of 1,0000 C+ melting-temperature and expect Adam, Noah, or whoever, to be able to walk about on it after six months, leave alone six days. This theory is to be commended for taking God's Word seriously. God's Word does take precedence over observation. But God's Word informs us that Noah's ark departed from the Middle East, landed in the Middle East, and the topography of the Middle East was fundamentally the same when he landed as when he departed. God's Word tells us day 4 was long enough to permit light to reach the earth from stars light-years away, and day 6 saw trees grow from nothing to full, fruiting maturity. It also tells us each day did not consist of an evening (declining or later segment) and a morning (opening or early segment): but an evening and a morning were each day. I.e., afternoon and morning work segments were what the days were. Periods of accomplished work were what the days were. The evenings and mornings of work defined the days. A sunrise, a sunset, and an eight-hour opportunity for work did not define those days. The days began and finished when the evening and morning of work began and finished. The reality of the six days of work is of course the everlasting reality of that incomprehensible universe of accomplishment, 2,000 years ago in our time, 6 hours in our time, an evening and a morning in our time, yet an eternal accomplishment against which the six days of creation pale and fade to nothing. So God's Word takes precedence over the theory of Noah's Flood Geology and a ten thousand year-old earth, and points us somewhere else.
Petty details such as these are not the reason why the Bible was given to us. We are brothers. God sees the heart, not the peripheral details. We are brothers; irrespective of minor creeds.
Solomon has it: "And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, All is vanity and vexation of the spirit." Eccl. 1:13,14. We are all brothers; or we should be brothers. These technicalities are vanity and vexation of spirit, matters of no lasting importance, nothing but potential specks in the ointment of brotherly unity.
First Published, 1999. Distributed to the major 24-hour day 'creation science' organizations with no response.
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