by Erik Martin
Thesis: God created the earth in six literal twenty-four hour days approximately six to ten thousand years ago.
While this has been the historic position of Christ-followers, a traditional understanding of creation is now unpopular. Let’s look and see if the Bible really teaches a quickly-completed and recent creation. Has the church misunderstood God’s intention? What does the Bible really say?
1. Genesis 1:1
The most compelling support for a recent formation of the earth is Genesis chapter one. The opening verse of the Bible unequivocally declares, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen.1:1). In Genesis 1-2 the declared Creator explains how He accomplished this feat.
The Biblical text uses plain time markers understandable even to uneducated men to indicate the timeframe and chronology of God’s creation. Jews calculate their days from sundown until the following sundown. Genesis 1:3 speaks of the first creation day having an evening and then a morning. This linguistic structure links the days of Genesis 1 to Judaism’s common method of marking days. The length of a day when Genesis was composed, around 1450 B.C., is therefore comparable to the length of a day at the Beginning–even before the sun was born. Consequently, the original audience of the first book of Moses, Israel in the wilderness, would easily have understood that the creation was fully accomplished in six normal days.
An unbiased and straightforward reading of the first chapter of Genesis requires a quickly finished creation. Furthermore, God does not have a speech impediment; He is not a poor communicator. If He intended us to believe in an old earth, He could have easily explained His creative acts in a way that unambiguously recognized millions of years of creative processes.
2. Biblical Genealogies
Next, the biblical genealogies testify to a recent genesis. A few generations may be missing from the accounts, but any significant gaps or omissions would undermine the genealogies’ authenticity and accuracy. If the written records are missing scores of generations, how could descendants, hundreds, let alone thousands of years later have any hope of identifying and verifying their ancestors?
Furthermore, the clear and careful record of each man’s length of life and the age he became a father indicates that the text is meant to be and is an accurate historical document. The original audience of Genesis, Israel in the wilderness, could have easily traced back their genealogies using those recorded in the Pentateuch.
God seems to have expected His people to study His Word this closely. Why else did He include so many genealogical tables? The Israelites’ calculations would have easily established a very young age for the earth. Even more, if God wanted His covenant children to believe the universe was billions of years old, He could have easily told them. He would have included longer genealogies and noted any major gaps.
3. The Sabbath Day
God grounds the Jewish sabbath day–after six work-days–in His own past action. Israel was given one rest-day after six work-days because God worked the same way (Exodus 20:8-11). This parallel becomes absurd if each Creation day was more than 24-hours or if major gaps separated each day.
4. Beliefs of the Biblical Authors
Thirdly, a recent creation was assumed, embraced, and taught by the biblical writers. The Psalmist testifies that God merely spoke and creation was accomplished (Psalm 33:6, 9). When Malachi references Genesis He endorses the teaching of Genesis (Malachi 2:10).
The Apostle Paul cites Adam’s fall in Romans 5:12-21. Paul treats Adam as a historical man and the biological father of all mankind. Furthermore, Paul constructs his entire Hamartiology upon the historicity of Adam. If Paul had known the Genesis account to be mistaken, He ought to have clarified any confusion. If Paul was mistaken about creation then he might also be mistaken about the sin, judgment and righteousness he teaches.
Paul is not alone in linking the present problem of sin with Adam’s transgression; He is merely echoing the prophets (Isaiah 43:27; Hosea 6:7). The Epistles scathingly condemn false teachers and work to correct their errant beliefs (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 1:6-9; Titus 1:10-16; Jude 1:4; 1 John 4:1). If God knew reality to contradict common Jewish thought, He would have clarified through one of His prophets or apostles.