When was Earth formed? When did man appear? Does the Bible contradict science in answering these questions?
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Evolutionists believe mankind, Earth and the entire cosmos are the result of the forces of evolution that began with a single event—the Big Bang—occurring billions of years ago.
On the other hand, many evangelicals, some Jewish religionists, and others believe that the universe, our solar system, Earth and all the plants, animals and even mankind was fully created in a single event occurring 6,000 years ago.
Is either view correct?
If you are a regular reader of The Real Truth, then you may have read our seven-part series on the theory of evolution, Evolution Exposed: Deconstructing False Science – Part 1.
Where does the idea of a 6,000-year-old Earth originate? Is it possible to use the Bible to ascertain details of events obviously scientific in nature? Does God’s Word demonstrate the creation event occurring millions of years ago or a mere 6,000 years?
While certain details about the subject of creation differ, the general concept is that an intelligent force brought about physical matter, including the trillions of stars, billions of galaxies, our solar system, Earth and everything in it. Most believe it started with a single event.
“Young Earth” creationists interpret the Genesis account to mean that the universe was created 6,000 years ago. This age is determined by counting the generations of biblical figures recorded throughout the Bible, starting with Adam in the Garden of Eden.
These creationists believe that any evidence not supporting their theory is incorrectly applied, or that data is misinterpreted. Their view is that the Bible is the only source that should be examined to prove creation, and the events recorded in it should be taken as they interpret them.
Young Earth proponent Henry Morris stated, “Either…believe God’s Word all the way, or not at all” (The Long War Against God).
Notice Romans chapter 1: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (vs. 20).
Now tie this with II Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine…”
The original Greek word translated “doctrine” means “learning” or “teaching.” From these two passages we can see that Scripture, which is inspired by God, can be used to learn about His eternal power and Godhead.
Young Earth creationists are correct to deduce that the Bible can be used as the starting point for any investigation of creation. In fact, evidence is found throughout “all Scripture.”
Let’s start in the book of beginnings, Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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” (Gen. 1:1-2).
Verse 1 describes an event (“in the beginning”) when God created everything. The passage is straightforward, and nearly all translations render it the same way.
Before looking at verse 2, consider that the God of the universe is a perfect Being and He always creates for a purpose. Consider further His description of the moment when the heavens and Earth were created: “For thus says the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited…” (Isa. 45:18).
The Hebrew word translated “vain” can also be rendered “a desolation, desert; a worthless thing; without form, nothing, waste, wilderness.” The heavens and Earth were created to be inhabited from its very first moment—obviously not “a worthless thing without form”!
In fact, the creation event described in verse 1 was so magnificent that “the morning stars [angels] sang together, and all the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy…” (Job 38:7).
Now let’s examine Genesis 1:2. The phrase “without form” comes from the Hebrew word tohu—the same word translated as “vain” in Isaiah 45:18.
The word “void” comes from bohu, meaning “a vacuity (a total emptiness of matter, a vacuum), an undistinguishable ruin.”
This is exactly what God said He did NOT create! He “is not the author of confusion…” (I Cor. 14:33)—rather, everything God does is “done decently and in order” (vs. 40).
The Hebrew word hayah makes this crystal clear. It was incorrectly translated “was” in Genesis 1:2. A more proper rendering is “became” or “came to be.” With all of this information a more accurate translation of the beginning of this verse could be: “And the earth became desolate, a worthless thing and an undistinguishable ruin …”
These verses describe completely different events! This is not an interpretation by any man; it is the clear, direct interpretation of the Bible by the Bible.
The Bible can be described as a spiritual “jigsaw puzzle.” The principle of Isaiah 28:10—“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”—teaches that one must search the scriptures and put together separate verses to get the fullest picture of any doctrine.
Few people—including most Bible students—understand that millions of years passed between the events of Genesis 1:1 and verse 2. It is not the Bible’s purpose to give every last detail of history. For example, God’s Word covers the first 2,000 years of humanity’s existence on Earth in only six chapters (Gen. 1-6).
How did our planet go from being beautiful and perfect at creation to a desolate desert and wilderness, a worthless thing without form? Who or what caused this?
Isaiah 14:12-14 tells a remarkable story containing many clues. Read carefully, noticing key phrases: “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the Most High.”
Ezekiel 28:12-17 parallels and reinforces Isaiah 14. When properly understood, the one called the “king of Tyrus” is obviously the devil. The passage speaks of one who “seals up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty,” who had also “been in Eden the garden of God.”
No human being has ever been perfect. Also, it was the devil—the serpent—who beguiled Eve in the garden. Verse 13 states, “you were created.” Satan is a created being. Verse 14 calls him “the cherub that covers.” No earthly king fits this description.
The latter part of verse 14 says that this “king” was “on the holy mountain of God” and “walked…in the midst of the stones of fire.” This describes the area around God’s throne.
Verse 15 declares, “iniquity [lawlessness] was found in you” and verse 16 describes this cherub as having been “cast…out of” heaven. God also said He would “destroy” (the Hebrew means “expel”) Lucifer from heaven. Verse 17 concludes with God “casting him down to the ground.”
Clearly Satan attacked God when he sought to ascend from his own throne to take over God’s throne in heaven. While the ensuing destruction from this battle would have been colossal (as evidenced in Genesis 1:2), the devil’s attack failed miserably and he was cast back to Earth.
This is what the Bible reveals!
Finally, Isaiah 14:17 ties everything together. Notice: “That [speaking of Satan] made the world as a wilderness…” The word “wilderness” can also be translated “desert.” Recall that the word tohu in Genesis 1:2 can also mean wilderness and desert.
In effect, Satan’s rebellion caused the Earth to become desolate. God later sent His Spirit to re-create—“renew”—the planet: “You send forth Your Spirit…and You renewed the face of the earth” (Psa. 104:30).
Genesis 1:1 describes the original creation of the entire universe. Satan’s rebellion took place at some point between the accounts of verses 1 and 2. And verse 2 describes the re-creation of the Earth that Young Earth creationists correctly date to approximately 6,000 years ago.
Christians should not run from science. While scientists do not always interpret the data correctly, certain concepts and fundamental laws mesh with the creation. Scientific laws man has discovered and defined were created by the God of the universe.
Let’s look at one scientific proof supporting all we have covered. The speed of light is one of the more constant variables in the universe, with a speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second. This means that if you were 186,000 miles away from a person who turned on a bright light, it would take one second before that light reached you.
No doubt, you have probably experienced this “delay” with sound. Since light travels faster than sound, if a person on an opposite side of a football field clashed cymbals, you would see the action before the sound reached your ears.
The only difference is that light travels so fast that enormous distances are required for a “delay” to be realized. The only place with enough space to demonstrate this effect is outer space. Because of the size of the cosmos, distances are often measured in light-years, the distance light can travel in one year. What does this have to do with the age of our universe?
If Earth and the universe were only 6,000 years old, we would only be able to see stars with a maximum distance of 6,000 light-years. Otherwise the light would not have had time to reach us.
Let’s put this in context.
The Milky Way galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years across, with our solar system about 28,000 light-years from the center. This puts us about 22,000 light-years from our galaxy’s outer edge. If the universe were only 6,000 years old, we would see only a fraction of the 200 billion stars in just OUR galaxy since light from others would not have had enough time to reach us!
Of course, you have seen countless pictures of stars near Earth. There are amazing images of some of the estimated 125 billion galaxies. Of these, 3,000 are visible and can be anywhere from 80,000 to billions of light-years away. Light from the most distant galaxies had to have traveled for billions of years before it reached Earth. Of course, for light to travel billions of years there had to have been a universe for billions of years!
Earth has existed for billions of years. And it was only very recently that God renewed—recreated—the Earth to prepare it for the first human beings, Adam and Eve!
When one allows the Bible to interpret itself, and uses that knowledge to properly interpret scientific data, the truth of creation is not only accurate, but magnificent and awe-inspiring!