Creation vs. Evolution - Young Earth Theory

By Jerry Price
Nov 1, 2005

“Young-earth creationism holds that the universe was created – mature and fully functioning – during six literal days 10,000 or fewer years ago … Young-earth creationism disagrees with evolution and theistic evolution in that it denies that macroevolution (evolution of one species into another) had anything to do with origins. It disagrees with progressive creationism by affirming that the days of Genesis were not long periods of time but literal twenty-four-hour days.

“This view holds that when God engaged in the work of creation, He did so instantaneously … No time interval lapsed between God’s commanding words and creation leaping into existence. No slow process of evolution was involved in any way … God alone was responsible for creating, making, and forming all that is in the universe. And He did so without using preexisting materials. One moment, nothing existed anywhere in the universe. The next moment, after God gave the command, the universe leaped into existence. This is known among theologians as creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). Instantaneously, God brought forth each ‘kind’ of animal and plant, and each then reproduced ‘after its kind.’

“Young-earth creationism is the viewpoint that most consistently interprets the Genesis account in a plain, straightforward, literal fashion. Sometimes young-earth creationists are caricatured as wooden literalists, but this is an unfair charge. Young-earth creationists do not hold to a wooden literalism – the kind that interprets biblical figures of speech literally. They believe that what is understood to be symbolic and what is taken literally should be based on the biblical context itself … Young-earth creationists realize that most modern scientists hold to an extremely old earth, and they realize that many interpret the fossil evidence as indicating life has been on earth for millions of years. They respond by suggesting that when God created the physical universe, He created it – and all within it – with an appearance of age. Adam and Eve were certainly created as full-grown adults. We know this to be true because, among other indications, they were commanded by God to be fruitful and multiply (indicating their adult sexual maturity). They had the appearance of age even though they did not have genuine age. Likewise, one must assume that a fully functioning ecosystem in the Garden of Eden would include mature trees (that had ready-to-eat fruit), bushes, and the like. Such items would have the appearance of age despite being only minutes old.”

Ron Rhodes, The 10 Things You Should Know About the Creation Vs. Evolution Debate (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2004), 61-65.

“But what if the ‘day’ of Genesis 1 is just a picture of the human day, that it was actually longer? Since it makes no difference to God, maybe a million or a billion years of real time simply represented a human work week. Space does not allow a complete treatment of this contentious proposition, but consider the following:

  • God’s wisdom would favor a time period closer to instantaneous.
  • The first mention of the word day (yom in Hebrew) in the entire Bible is found in Genesis 1:5. Is it likely that the very first time a word is mentioned, it would be in a figurative and not a literal sense? That wouldn’t make any sense at all! Furthermore, light is the basis of all meanings of day (light, daylight, the day/night cycle), leaving no basis for a meaning of a long period of time.
  • God specifies the division between day and night, light and darkness. It is a real stretch to think He is talking about millions or billions of years of light followed by approximately the same period of darkness. Also, millions of years between the creation of plants on Day 3 and pollinating insects on Day 5 would not seem possible. In the straightforward sense, day can only mean a day similar to our twenty-four-hour days as they are divided into light and darkness.
  • In Genesis 1 we read of many things: land, trees, the expanse, living things, etc. No one suggests any of these terms should be interpreted symbolically. Why then should day be singled out?
  • God goes even farther in using the expression first day, second day, third day, and so on. When Scripture associates a number with the word day, it means a day in the usual sense of the word. (Check it out in your concordance or a Bible computer program.)
  • The jussives of command and the phrase it was so suggest instantaneous obedience.
  • The same Hebrew word in Exodus 20:11 (yamin) used to describe the days of the human work week is used in Genesis to describe the days of Creation.
  • Whenever the phrase evening and morning is used in Scripture, it refers to a twenty-four-hour day.”

Kurt P. Wise and Sheila A. Richardson, Something From Nothing (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2004), 26-27.

What about the appearance of age in a young-earth creation? “We must conclude that God can and does create things that appear much older than they really are. For example, when Jesus created the wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-10), people naturally assumed that the wine had been made by growing, processing, and fermenting the grapes, then placing the resulting beverage in containers to transport to the wedding feast.

“If you had been present to meet Adam after he was created from the dust of the ground, you might have assumed (falsely, of course) that he had grown from an embryo, through childhood, and into young adulthood.

“If you had looked at the trees bearing fruit on the third day of Creation, you might have assumed they began with a seed that grew into a seedling and then into a tree that finally produced mature fruit.

“If you were with Jesus when He fed the five thousand and you hadn’t directly seen Him perform the miracle, you might have assumed that all of the bread and fish that was consumed had some sort of history of growing, catching, and preparing associated with them.

“But Scripture teaches us that these events happened instantaneously through an act of God.

“God provides sufficient ambiguity in the Creation for humans to conclude erroneously a history that never actually occurred – if they so choose – because God requires faith of us. But He also provides the truth in the account He gives us, and He provides evidence against the alternative hypotheses.”

Adapted from Kurt P. Wise and Sheila A. Richardson, Something From Nothing (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2004), 29-30.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Science, Creation/Evolution,

6 Comments

1 On Jun 4, 2007, at 9:38pm, Harry Rockefeller wrote:

I was expecting to find links to the outstanding “Young Earth” creation web sites: icr.org, creationevidence.org, and the newest one, creationmuseum.org.  Is there a reason why ERLC is a “closed” web site in this area?

2 On Jun 5, 2007, at 8:15pm, Jacob Fentress wrote:

@Harry

A brief history: This piece was part of a “fact sheet” originally produced for print. Since then, the ERLC has become more web centric in our communication. This site is only a year old at this point. When the site launched, we went back and added a lot of our materials that we thought may be helpful, but we did not have the time or resources to redo all our materials to be in as web specific format as we would like - meaning that there should be a lot of links in many places that just aren’t there.

But that’s one of the reasons we’ve enabled comments, so people like you can point out additional sites you find handy, correct our mistakes, and fill in the blanks about things we may not have even considered. Believe me, there is no intention in being a “closed” website, our resources just keep us from adding everything we would like. Thank you for your additions and I hope we’ll hear from you again.

3 On Sep 23, 2008, at 4:00am, dave wrote:

Does the Southern Baptist convention have an official position on Old Earth vs New Earth?

4 On Sep 23, 2008, at 5:09pm, Sulyn Wilkins wrote:

In order to find out if the Southern Baptist Convention has taken an official stance on any subject is to do a search for position statements/resolutions on http://www.sbc.net. If there has been no resolution passed at our yearly convention, then since each church is autonomous, you would probably find different views on this subject.

5 On Dec 21, 2008, at 8:37pm, Chaka Cox wrote:

i have poeple saying the earth is the standard 4.3 billion yrs old, i need some common sense and scientifc ansewrs to make them at least themn consider 10,000 yrs of the earths age

6 On Dec 23, 2008, at 3:51am, Harry Rockefeller wrote:

See my comment #1.  Is there some reason the information on these web sites is *not* common sense and *not scientific?

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