Young Earth Creationists (YECs) maintain the Genesis creation account and the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 12 mandate a belief that God created the universe (and everything in the universe) in six consecutive 24-hour days, approximately 6,000 to 12,000 years ago. In their view, any view of creation which permits the death of animals before the Fall is contrary to the teachings of Scripture and brings God’s attributes for being just, loving and good into question. In the view of YECs, OECs and scientists who estimate the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the universe 13.7 billion years old have misinterpreted the scientific data because they have bought into evolutionary theory, they have failed to consider the geological effects of Noah’s flood and/or they have ignored the fact that nature began to degenerate after the Fall.
Old Earth Creationists (OECs) challenge the YEC View on both scriptural and scientific grounds. In the OEC view, since God is the author of both the record of Scripture and the record of nature, both records are true. However, that doesn’t mean every man’s interpretation of those records is accurate. In the OEC view, any perceived inconsistency between Scripture and the record of nature regarding the age of the universe and the age of the earth is either because Scripture has been misinterpreted and/or because the record of nature has been misinterpreted. In the OEC view, when both records are accurately interpreted, both consistently reveal God created the universe and the earth a very long time ago, much longer than the 6,000 – 12,000 years stated under the YEC view.
☞ Article Index
Importance of the Creation Debate: Is the “when” of God’s creation as important as the “act” of God’s creation? (here>>)
Interpretation of Scripture: Should the Genesis creation account be interpreted “plainly” or “literally” as maintained by YECs? If so, what does it mean to interpret the Bible “plainly” or “literally”? Do “plain” or “literal” interpretations guarantee a correct interpretation? (here>>)
God’s General Revelation through Nature vs. God’s Special Revelation through Scripture: To what extent do general revelation and special revelation accurately reveal truth about God and His creation? (here>>)
Summary of the YEC View
❖ Introductory Summary of the YEC View: Young Earth Creationists (YECs) believe a plain and literal reading of the Genesis creation account mandates a belief that God created the universe and everything in the universe in six consecutive 24-hour days (144 hours). This view is also referred to as the Calendar Day View, the Literal View or the 24-Hour View.
YEC ORDER OF CREATION EVENTS ADAPTED FROM “WHAT IS THE ORDER
OF EVENTS IN THE BIBLICAL CREATION?” (www.Christiananswers.net)
By adding up the years referenced in the Hebrew genealogies recorded in Genesis 5 and 11, some YECs maintain God created the universe and man approximately 6,000 years ago. Other YECs allow for a limited amount of telescoping within the genealogies and permit a creation date of up to about 12,000 years ago.
In the YEC view, scientists who estimate the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the universe 13.7 billion years old have misinterpreted the scientific data because they have not considered the effects the global flood described in Genesis 6-8 had on Earth’s geologic formations nor have they considered the fact that after the Fall, nature began to degenerate. YECs assert that Christians who promote a view of creation in which God created the universe and Earth over billions of years (e.g., the Day-Age view more>>, the Intermittent-Day View more>>, Literary Framework View more>>, etc.) have ill-advisedly chosen to reinterpret the plain meaning of God’s inspired Word to accommodate science. In doing so, such Christians (commonly referred to as Old Earth Creationists aka OECs) have compromised and undermined the gospel message because all OEC views require animals to have died before sin entered the world at the time of the Fall. In the view of YECs, because death was a consequence of man’s sin, no death could have occurred before the Fall. YECs fervently believe any supposed scientific evidence which gives an old age for the universe or the earth is a result of fallible interpretations of data by fallible and fallen human beings. [See, John Morris, The Young Earth, pg. 39 (1994); Ken Ham, The New Answers Book, “Could God Really Have Created Everything in Six Days? (2007)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — An Old Earth View of Creation Does Not Destroy the Gospel Message: The basic message of Scripture is that God created man, man sinned against God causing man to become spiritually separated from God, God sent His son to be an atoning sacrifice for man‘s sin and man‘s relationship with God can be restored by accepting God’s gift of salvation offered through His son, Jesus Christ (more>>). OECs maintain that whether God chose to create the universe in six consecutive 24-hour periods or chose to do so over a long period(s) of time, does nothing to undermine the simple gospel message. As some OECs have stated, death before sin compromises the YEC view, but it does not compromise the gospel message.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — OECs Are Not Compromising the Plain Meaning of the Genesis Creation Account to Accommodate Modern Science: In response to the accusation that OECs compromise the plain meaning of Genesis to accommodate science, Christians who are open to an OEC view make the following points:
Point No. 1: There is no reason to compromise the record of scripture to accommodate science or to compromise the record of nature to accommodate one’s theology. God is the author of both records. Since all truth is God’s truth, when accurately interpreted and translated, both records will be in agreement. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 20 (2004)]
Point No. 2: It is unfair for YECs to accuse OECs of compromising the plain meaning of the Hebrew word “yom” (translated “day”) to accommodate evolutionary theory because even before the theory of evolution was developed, some church leaders and Jewish scholars had already interpreted the Genesis creation account as occurring in something other than six 24-hour days. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 17-23 (1994); see also, Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 49 (1999) and Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pgs. 109-122 (2004)]
Point No. 3: Christian philosopher, William Lane Craig, differentiates between those who rely on science to shape their interpretation of the Bible from those who take theology and science seriously and seek to understand what the Bible teaches and then integrate that teaching with what can be learned from science. [William Lane Craig, www.reasonablefaith.com, Question of the Week, No. 317, “Confused about Concordism”, May 12, 2013]
Some YECs maintain that a belief in a young earth is so foundational to the Christian faith that unless a person holds a YEC view, they should not be permitted to serve in position of church leadership. [See, John Morris, “Should a Church Take a Stand on Creation?” Dr. John’s Q & A (May 1992)] Other YECs, such as Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, maintain the question of when God created the universe is less important than the fact that God was the Creator; therefore, OECs should be considered allies in the fight against naturalism. In the view of Nelson and Reynolds, “[i]t is certainly possible to be an old earth creationist and be a good Christian.” [Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 50 (1999)] OEC Hugh Ross notes that none of the early church creeds “contain any exclusive language with respect to the nature and duration of the Genesis creation days.” [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 20 (2004)]
Interpretation of Scripture
❖ YEC View — Scripture Should be Interpreted Plainly and Literally
YECs maintain Scripture is to be interpreted literally (unless the context indicates otherwise) and YECs usually define a literal interpretation as one which takes words in their usual or primary sense and applies ordinary rules of grammar. However, YECs do agree that one should not “ignore the metaphor, symbolism, and idioms of the language and culture that the original audience would have understood.” Nevertheless, “if the plain sense makes sense, we should seek no other sense, lest we create nonsense.” [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pgs. 32-33, 38 (2004)] According to many YECs, such as J. Ligon Duncan and David W. Hall, “the intent of the author of Genesis 1-2 as to the nature of the creation days is so apparent that it is, frankly, beyond dispute.” [J. Ligon Duncan & David W. Hall, The Genesis Debate, pg. 23 (2001)]
Consequently, YECs do not believe any effort should be made to harmonize scripture with what scientists can only infer from the record of nature. When confronted with a fact of nature which does not appear to harmonize with the creation account in Genesis, many YECs, such as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis (www.answersingenesis.org), retort: “Were the scientists there?” or “Were you there?” By asking these types of rhetorical questions, YECs seek to demonstrate that since nobody was alive when the universe was created, no one has firsthand knowledge of what actually occurred when God created the universe. Because God was there and revealed His works of creation in Scripture, man must rely on the inspired word of God, not the guesswork of scientists, who weren’t eyewitnesses of God’s creative works. YECs point out that God’s rhetorical response to Job when Job questioned why God had permitted bad things to happen to him was: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.” (See, Job 38:4) [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 65 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Even “Plain” or “Literal” Interpretations are Still Interpretations of a Limited Amount of Information Revealed in Scripture: OECs (who also claim to be committed to the authority of Scripture) believe it is necessary to distinguish between Scripture’s authority and one’s interpretation of that authority. [See, Paul Copan, “The Days of Genesis: An Old-Earth View” (2005)] OEC Hugh Ross contends that throughout history church scholars “have acknowledged that determining the precise meaning of a biblical word or passage sometimes requires more effort than a mere surface reading.” There are differences in even the most honest human interpretations of the Bible and proposed “plain” or “literal” interpretations are still interpretations which must take several things into account such as literary genre, figures of speech, the immediate and broader context, grammatical and historical data, etc. Additionally, passages in one portion of Scripture are often used to help clarify the meaning of other passages. Further, because the books in the Bible address a limited range of topics to a limited level of detail, Ross proposes “[n]o matter how much study anyone devotes to an issue such as the creation debate, room still exists to extend, revise, and improve understanding.” [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 62-63, 85 (2004)] Finally, OECs maintain “plain” and “literal” interpretations of Genesis must be consistent with the original Hebrew text as “[t]he inerrancy of the Bible and the truth of the biblical creation account are impaired by any claims that are not consistent with the Hebrew text of the Bible” because that was the language in which the original text was written. (Emphasis added). [Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death Before the Fall“, pg. 1 (2007)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — A Decision to Give a Literal or Plain Meaning Interpretation Does Not Mean it is the Correct Interpretation: In response to YEC averments that the Bible must be taken “plainly” or “literally” wherever possible, OEC Robert Newman states one can chose to follow such a rule if he/she wishes, but such a rule does not guarantee the passage is being understood as intended. Newman refers to Matthew 16:5-12 in which Jesus’ disciples sometimes had trouble understanding Jesus’ teachings because they interpreted what he said literally. In Matthew 16, Jesus warned his disciples: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” The disciples interpreted Jesus’ reference to yeast literally and didn’t understand what Jesus was saying because they didn’t have any bread (which contained yeast) with them. The disciples subsequently came to understand that when Jesus was talking about the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees, He was talking about their teachings. [Robert Newman & Perry Phillips, Genesis One and the Origin of Earth, 2nd Ed., pg. 58 (2007)]
OEC Perry Phillips details passages in Scripture which, if given a “plain” interpretation, would lead to troublesome results. For example, Joshua 10:12-13 plainly states that Joshua called for the sun to “stand still over Gibeon” and the “sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.” A plain interpretation would lead readers to believe the sun actually stood still even though we now know it is the Earth that moves around the sun such that the sun does not stop or go down. However, the point of the text is that from Joshua’s perspective the sun did stand still. [See, Perry Phillips, “Biblical Perspectives on D. Russell Humphreys’s Timothy Test” (1996)] Likewise, some have noted that if Genesis 1:16’s reference to God creating “two great lights” is interpreted “plainly” or “literally”, then it is a “literal mistake” because we now know the moon is not itself a light; it merely reflects light. [See, Paul Copan, “The Days of Genesis: An Old-Earth View” (2005)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — In Giving a Literal Interpretation of Scripture, One Should Not Over-Literalize: As asserted by Paul Copan, although Genesis 1-3 is an historical account, it also contains a number of non-literal and metaphorical elements. For example, the text states God “breathed” and “walked” which Copan notes must be metaphoric since God is a spirit (see, John 4:24) such that God does not literally walk or breath; likewise, God is invisible and cannot be seen (1Tim. 6:16; Col. 1:15; John 1:18). Another metaphorical trait that Copan points to are what he refers to as the echos and re-echos of Genesis 1:1-31 in which the text states in repeated fashion that “God said X” immediately followed by a corresponding creative event reflecting a poetic style. Because of these theological and literary motifs, Copan cautions against interpretations of Genesis that over-literalize the text. As a point of comparison, Copan queries how the Book of Revelation would be interpreted if someone insisted it be interpreted literally. [See, Paul Copan, “The Days of Genesis: An Old-Earth View” (2005)]
❖ YEC Reply — The Book of Revelation is a Different Genre of Literature: The Book of Revelation is not an appropriate guide for interpreting Genesis because, like the Book of Daniel, Revelation is a unique literary genre. It has nothing to do with how an historical book like Genesis should be interpreted. [See, E. J. Young, Studies in Genesis One, pgs. 76 (1964)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The “Were You There?” Approach is Spurious and Self Defeating: Some of the rebutting comments offered with respect to the “Were you there?” approach utilized by many YECs include the following:
Comment No. 1: It is at least reasonable to evaluate the truth of a claim by evaluating evidence in existence today. In courts of law, jurors are regularly required to make life and death decisions on circumstantial evidence because, in many cases, there are no eyewitnesses to the event.
Comment No. 2: God knows nobody was alive to personally witness the creation event and, yet, in Romans 1:20, men are encouraged to consider the heavens as evidence of His existence and glory. Other verses teach creation reveals certain things about God:
Consequently, “whatever the curse on the ground means, it cannot indicate that creation became so spoiled that it no longer proclaims the glory of God” and creation “continues to provide real knowledge about the existence and attributes of God to an unbeliever.” “So the message of the cosmos must be clear enough for nonbelievers to interpret it correctly.” [Krista Bontrager, The Bigger Picture on Creation, pg. 42 (2008)]
Comment No. 3: The “Were you there?” approach is self-defeating because if a claim cannot be believed unless it is personally witnessed, then creationism itself would be called into question because none of the biblical authors or anyone alive today actually witnessed the creation events described in the Bible nor do we have the original Hebrew writings of Genesis or any witnesses to what the original text stated.
❖ YEC Reply — Only God Witnessed the Events of Creation and He Reported the Events in Scripture: “The simple fact is, the only one who has observed the entire history of the universe from beginning to end is God. Obviously, no scientist was around billions of years ago, nor can anyone go back in a time machine to make critical measurements and tests…. Man’s finite powers of observation and sin-polluted, degenerate minds are simply not capable of knowing many absolute facts about the ancient past.” God is the only witness and in His “Word to humanity,” God said Creation was “completed during six days (evidently six earth rotations).” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 39-40 (1996)]
Comment No. 4: One of the things that sets the Bible apart from other holy books and writings of cult leaders is that the Bible encourages it’s readers to “objectively test” what they read “before they believe.” [Hugh Ross, Creation as Science, pg. 219-220 (2006)] See, I Thessalonians 5:21, Romans 12:2, Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Malachi 3:10, Matthew 7:15-2, Acts 17:11 and I John 4:1. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 63-64 (2004)] The “were you there?” approach ignores this biblical principle and exhorts people to deny what is logically inferred or deduced from the realities of the physical universe.
Comment No. 5: YECs take Job 38 out of context in using it to support the “Were you there approach?”. In Job 38, God was responding to Job questioning of His motives for allowing bad things to happen, not how to interpret a passage of Scripture or the record of nature. Even though men are cautioned against questioning God’s motives because men don’t have the knowledge or perspective God has, it is certainly reasonable to question whether a biblical passage or the record of nature is being properly interpreted by other human beings.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — All Truth is God‘s Truth: God is the author of all truth — the truth proclaimed in Scripture and the truth revealed in the record of nature. Consequently, there is nothing inherently wrong with evaluating what the Bible says about creation and evaluating what science may teach about creation and attempting to harmonize the two accounts. When correctly interpreted, both revelations provide truthful information revealed by God. Harmonization is a long accepted exegetical method used by Bible scholars to interpret the Bible. For example, Bible scholars typically study all relevant passages on a particular issue when interpreting Scripture to ensure their interpretation is accurate and consistent with the rest of Scripture. The same method is employed by Bible scholars in explaining apparent inconsistencies in different accounts of an event recorded in the Bible. For example, Matthew says there were two demoniacs whose deliverance caused a herd of pigs to stampede into the Sea of Galilee whereas Mark and Luke only mention one demoniac. Bible scholars maintain this difference is not evidence of error or inconsistency but reflects a different viewpoint or focus of different authors. [See, Brad McCoy, 136 Bible Contradictions Answered, #60 (1985)] Just as there is nothing wrong with harmonizing two or more passages in the gospels, there is nothing wrong with harmonizing truth revealed by God in Scripture with truth God has revealed in nature. [Robert Newman, Evangelical Affirmations, pgs. 412-417 (1990)] Likewise, for years secular dates and biblical dates for the rulers of Israel and Judah appeared to be in conflict. Nevertheless, Edwin Thiele (M.A. in archaeology, Ph.D. in biblical archaeology) believed secular data would agree with the information provided in the Bible if both were interpreted correctly. After many years of study, Thiele established the dating discrepancies were a result of different methods of calculating the reigning years of a king as well as when a new year was considered to have begun. Additionally, Israel’s southern kingdom adopted a totally different method of calculation after Athaliah seized power. [See, Edwin Thiele: The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, 2nd Ed. (1951)] Similarly, OECs such as Hugh Ross and Robert Newman assert when correctly interpreted, the record of Scripture and the record of nature will be in harmony because God has revealed truth in both records. [See, Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 11-12, 57-58 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 19-20 (2004); Robert Newman and Perry Phillips, Genesis One and the Origin of Earth, 2nd Ed., pg. 60 (2007)]
❖ YEC Reply — Fallen Man Doesn’t Always Know What the Truth Is: Although it is true that all truth is God’s truth, “one must be careful because sinful man does not always understand or recognize what the truth is.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 29 (1996)]
❖ YEC View — OECs Elevate General Revelation as Interpreted by Fallen Human Beings over Special Revelation Provided Directly by God in His Inspired Word: YECs agree men can obtain knowledge about God from both special revelation (information revealed in scripture) and general revelation (information revealed in nature). Nevertheless, although studying nature can provide some limited and general information about God (e.g., His existence, glory and power), which may draw man’s thoughts to a creator, the only way to really know God is through special revelation: “[G]eneral revelation serves only to condemn the sinner and to establish his guilt-worthiness before God (Rom. 1:20).” [Bruce Demarest, “General Revelation” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, pg. 945 (1984); see also, Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 31-36 (1996)] Additionally, many YECs believe man’s ability to correctly interpret the record of nature has been greatly compromised because of the following:
Man’s heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9).
The thinking of a godless man is “futile” (Rom. 1:21).
Further, although Scripture was penned by fallen human beings, the authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:15-17). Consequently, Scripture is the only source of revelation that has not been tainted by the Fall. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 44 (2004)] With regard to the age of the earth, Henry Morris of ICR asserts “direct testimony from the Creator [i.e., Scripture] is the only way to know the age of the earth.” (italics in original). [Henry Morris, Acts & Facts, Vol. 15, No. 8, pg. 5, “Morris Debates for Young Earth at Wheaton” (1986)] YECs clearly reject any claim, such as that made by Hugh Ross (proponent of a Day-Age view), that since God is the author of the record of nature and the author of the Bible, the information revealed by God in nature “may be likened to a sixty-seventh book of the Bible.” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 56 (1994)] Jonathan Sarfati (a YEC) contends Ross “elevates ‘science’ to the level of Scripture, and, in practice, puts science above Scripture by reinterpreting Scripture to fit his idea of science….” [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 17 (2004)] Sarfati also argues that, unlike Scripture, the record of nature “is not subject to objective hermeneutical principles” (i.e., principles used to ensure a correct interpretation of Scripture) but, rather, scientists subjectively formulate conclusions by interpreting their observations to fit within a naturalistic and evolutionary worldview. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 41 (2004); see also, Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 31-32 (1996)] As a result, “[t]he history of science is littered with the wrecks of ideas that were at one time considered to be ‘true’ but have long since fallen out of favor.” [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 42 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Bible Tells Us God Has Revealed Himself Via His Creation: “The Bible repeatedly states that God uses creation as a means to declare his existence (Romans 1:20), glory (Psalm 19:1), righteousness (Psalm 50:6; 97:6), love (Job 37:13; Psalm 33:5), wisdom (Psalm 104:24), and eternality (Romans 1:20)…. All of God’s revelation is inherently valuable and worthy to be studied because the Creator of the universe is trying to communicate something to us about who he is and what he has done for us.” [Krista Bontrager, New Reasons to Believe, Vol. 2, No. 3, pg. 22, “Finding Light in the Dark” (2010)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Sin Did Not Cause Men to Become Intellectually Debilitated: Although the effects of Adam’s sin resulted in spiritual death of mankind and, potentially, eternal separation from God, it does not necessarily follow that sin caused men to become so intellectually debilitated that scientific endeavors are useless. Indeed, many non-theistic scientists admit scientific investigation reveals that the universe is incredibly fine-tuned (more>>); however, man’s fallen nature causes many of them to deny that such exquisite fine-tuned design rationally points to the existence of an intelligent designer and, instead, they maintain the design is only apparent, not real (more>>). [Krista Bontrager, The Bigger Picture on Creation, pgs. 42-43 (2008)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Both Scripture and the Record of Nature are Subject to Interpretive Guidelines: Although Scripture is subject to hermeneutical principles, not everyone agrees on what the principles are and/or how they should be applied. Accordingly, there is not always agreement on how a particular passage is to be “correctly” interpreted or translated. For example, in the 16th century, the church interpreted Psalm 93:1, which says the earth “is firmly established” and “cannot be moved”, as stating the earth was at the center of the universe. When Galileo proposed the earth revolved around the sun, the Roman Catholic church labeled him a heretic. Biblical scholars, including Roman Catholics, now agree the Church misinterpreted or misapplied Psalm 93:1. It is now well-recognized that Psalm 93:1 was figuratively stating God’s power is so awesome that the world He created cannot be moved; it was not meant to be a scientific proclamation that the earth is at the center of the universe.
Furthermore, although interpretation of the record of nature is not subject to hermeneutical principles, it is subject to the principles of the scientific method which, like principles of hermeneutics, employ a systematic process to minimize “the effects of oversight, personal bias and presuppositions.” [Hugh Ross, Creation as Science, pgs. 219-220 (2006) citing to works by Thomas F. Torrance] Referencing I Thessalonians 5:21 and Romans 12:2, Ross further notes that one of the things that separates the Bible from other holy books is the Bible’s exhortation to its readers to “objectively test” truth claims “before they believe.” [Hugh Ross, Creation as Science, pgs. 219-220 (2006)] See also, Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Malachi 3:10, Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 17:11 and I John 4:1. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 63-64 (2004)]
☞ Section Index
❖ Observation No. 1: Scientists only observe the present, not the past (here>>)
❖ Observation No. 2: It isn’t surprising that interpretations of general revelation (nature) conflict with special revelation (the Genesis Creation Account) (here>>)
❖ Observation No. 3: Scientists who believe in an old earth are biased due to their pre-suppositional belief in evolution (here>>)
❖ Observation No. 5: Man’s interpretation of the degenerated record of nature is inherently unreliable (here>>)
❖ Scientists Only Observe the Present, Not the Past: Many YECs argue that scientists can only infer things about the origin of the universe/earth based on evidence that exists in the present, not the past. Therefore, the truth about things which occurred in the past (e.g., how and when the universe came into existence, how and when man was created, etc.) are beyond the reach of even the most educated and even well-intentioned scientists. Consequently, the conclusions scientists make about origins from observing the present state of the universe and the present geologic record involves “much hypothesis, assumption and guesswork.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 26 (1996)] According to the YEC view, “[t]here is no general Bible-science conflict if one recognizes the domain of science to be primarily in the present and involving the investigation of present-day phenomena.” [Marvin L. Lubenow, Impact, “Does Proper Interpretation of Scripture Require a Recent Creation? (Part 1)” (1978)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — It is Unreasonable to Insist Scientists Can’t Ascertain Reliable Information About the Past: Some well-established sciences (e.g., astronomy, geology and biology) are directly engaged in analyzing and reconstructing events which occurred in the past by using data that has survived to the present time. Moreover, astronomers never observe the present; rather, they observe the properties of light when the light left its original source at some point in the past. [Hugh Ross & Gleason Archer, The Genesis Debate, pgs. 128-129 (2001)] For example, when astronomers study light from the sun, they are studying properties of the light when it left the sun approximately 8.3 minutes earlier because it takes 8.3 minutes for light to travel from the sun to the earth, a distance of approximately 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 km).
Although a scientist’s level of certainty on any particular issue may decrease if the phenomena being studied is outside the laboratory, is unrepeatable or only occurred in the past, that does not mean the level of certainty is zero. Therefore, it is unreasonable for YECs to insist scientific investigation cannot provide any reliable insight about things that occurred in the history of the universe and the earth. [Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 119 (1999)]
❖ YEC Reply — Scientists Can Only Infer Past Events: Any real-time observations of astronomers are always in the present and scientists must infer what occurred in the past from their present-time observations. For example, since scientists did not observe the formation of the sun, they can only infer the sun formed from a collapsing nebula. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 66 (2004)]
❖ YEC Reply — Special Revelation Must Govern Our Understanding: Scientists are limited to observation whereas Scripture provides God’s revelation and although secular astronomers are not likely to be consciously deceiving the public, they are looking “through the wrong ‘glasses.’” [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 31 (2004)] Accordingly, special revelation (Scripture) must govern one’s understanding of general revelation (nature).
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Both Scientists and Biblical Scholars Must Rely on Historical Data: Although scientists can only observe things as they exist in the present and must rely on data that has survived the passage of time, the same is true when Bible scholars interpret Old Testament writings because they are dependent on the availability of ancient manuscripts and on the accuracy of those interpreting the grammar and vocabulary of a language for which no one is alive who is a native speaker. [Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg.119 (1999)]
❖ YEC Reply — The Study of Special Revelation (Scripture) is Objective Whereas The Study of General Revelation (Nature) is Subjective: The words of the Bible are “subject to rules of grammar, context, and culture and is therefore open to objective, hermeneutic study.” “Nature on the other hand, is the revelation of God in general fashion and is subjective in nature …. The words of the Bible do not change, while man’s environment (nature) and the understanding continually change ….” Moreover, “‘[t]here is no special intellectual prowess or pneumatic gift that is necessary to understand the basic message of Scripture….’” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 32-34 (1996)]
➤ OEC Response — All Interpretations Contain Some Subjectivity: Any time a man interprets information, whether that information is in the Bible or the record of nature, a subjective component is necessarily injected into the process.
❖ It’s Not Surprising that Interpretations of General Revelation (Nature) Conflict with Special Revelation (the Genesis Creation Account): As stated by YECs, Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor, a majority of people have never wanted to accept God’s truth. A majority of people did not survive Noah’s flood. A majority of scientists do not believe in the teachings of the Bible (e.g., miracles, the virgin birth, a global flood, etc.). Matthew 7:13-14 says, “[W]ide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Because Matthew 7 warns most people will reject God’s truth, it isn’t surprising or troubling that a great majority of people reject a young earth view based on their interpretation of the record of nature. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 26 (1996)]
❖ Scientists Who Believe in an Old Earth are Biased Due to a Pre-Suppositional Belief in Evolution: The theory of evolution is premised on small changes occurring over billions of years. Because a great majority of secular scientists have bought into evolutionary theory, YECs assert they have a pre-suppositional belief which unduly influences them to interpret the data they collect to support a view that the earth is billions of years old. “Scientists are as human as everyone else. They are fallible, biased and sinful.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 26-27 (1996)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Everyone Has a Bias: Unless people are completely detached from an issue (i.e., they don’t care one way or another because they have no interest) no one is unbiased. In fact, as pointed out by Christian philosopher, J.P. Moreland, a lack of bias isn’t necessarily a virtue because it may indicate a person has not thought about an issue enough to care one way of the other about the issue. There are also some things people should be biased against such as rape, murder, etc. As argued by Moreland, “as one develops thoughtful, intelligent convictions about a topic, it is wrong to remain unbiased, that is, uncommitted regarding it.” However, Moreland argues bias doesn’t prevent people from exercising rational objectivity so they can discern between good and bad reasons for either holding onto or letting go of a belief. [J.P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle, pgs. 78-80 (2007)]
❖ Scripture Should Not be Reinterpreted to Make it Harmonize with Scientific Theory: Because man has only gathered a tiny fraction of information about the creation of the universe/earth, man’s understanding about origins is very limited. Consequently, it is dangerous to rely on man’s limited scientific knowledge to interpret Scripture. Moreover, because scientific theories are constantly changing, it would make a mockery of God’s inspired word if a correct interpretation of the Bible depended on information provided by science. If an accurate interpretation of Scripture depends on science, the Bible would have to be reinterpreted every time scientists change their theories or offer new theories, which happens all the time. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 27 (1996)] Scientific opinion is not a legitimate hermeneutic for interpreting Scripture. Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17), it did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible is supreme truth; therefore, “it is the standard by which scientific theory should be evaluated, not vice versa.” [John MacArthur, “Genesis 1: Fact or Framework?”]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — There is Nothing Wrong with Harmonizing the Truth God Revealed in the Bible with the Truth God Revealed in the Record of Nature: OECs don’t depend on science to reinterpret the Bible. However, since God is the author of both the record of nature and the record of Scripture, both records are true. Therefore, there is nothing inherently wrong with evaluating/re-evaluating what the Bible says and evaluating/re-evaluating what science can tell us and attempting to harmonize the two accounts. Any inconsistency between Scripture and the record of nature is either because Scripture has been misinterpreted and/or the record of nature has been misinterpreted. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 57-58 (1994); Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pgs. 117-119 (1999)] Archeological and historical findings shed new light on the meaning of Bible passages all the time and Bible scholars do not hesitate to consider such findings in seeking to understand the meaning of certain Bible passages. Similarly, there is no reason why Bible scholars should not thoughtfully consider what scientists have learned about the universe in seeking to accurately interpret the biblical creation account.
❖ Man’s Interpretation of the Degenerated Record of Nature is Inherently Unreliable: Scientific study of the record of nature is subject to man’s interpretation and subject to man’s ability to properly interpret things about the world and the universe. Romans 8:20-22 tells us that since the time of the Fall, creation has been subjected to “bondage to decay” which means man’s ability to properly interpret the geologic record has been greatly affected. Man’s ability to properly interpret the record of nature has also been affected by the effects of the catastrophic global flood described in Genesis. Because nature has continued to degenerate from its original state of perfection and because of the devastating effects the flood would have had on nature, the present record of nature is inherently unreliable in providing accurate information about God or His creative works. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 33-36 (1996)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Bible Encourages its Readers to Examine God‘s Creation Nature Because it Reveals Things About God: The Bible encourages its readers to examine creation because it reveal things about God:
Creation reveals certain things about God’s characteristics (Ps. 19:1-6, 68:32-35, 96:3-6, Rom. 1:18-25);
“[N]ature continues to provide real knowledge about the existence and attributes of God to the unbeliever. According to Romans 1:18-20, non-Christians can study the record of nature and come to certain conclusions about the identity and character of the Creator. So the message of the cosmos must be clear enough for nonbelievers to interpret it correctly.” [Krista Bontrager, The Bigger Picture on Creation, pg. 42 (2008)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — If the Fall Has Prevented Man from Properly Interpreting the Record of Nature, the Same Can be Said About Man’s Ability to Interpret Scripture: If fallen man is unable to properly interpret the record of nature, the same can be said about fallen man’s ability to accurately interpret Scripture. Further, even though Scripture was inspired by God, not every man’s interpretation of scripture is inspired by God; consequently, the proper interpretation of Scripture is commonly debated. “Though the effects of Adam’s sin resulted in spiritual death and potentially eternal separation from a holy God (apart from salvation in Christ), it doesn’t follow that the Fall was intellectually debilitating to the point that scientific endeavors become impossible…. The limitation for nonbelievers is not that they can’t do good science. It’s that they have the same problem as everyone else — they are sinners in need of salvation (see Romans 1:21-23)…. Nontheistic scientists often detect the design in the universe. The only question for them is whether the design is real or apparent” (more>>). That doesn’t mean Christians should trust all the findings of scientists. Rather, just as with different views of theologians, the claims of scientists should be put to the test to see if the claims are valid. [Krista Bontrager, The Bigger Picture on Creation, pgs. 42-45 (2008)]
Theological Arguments Offered in Support of the YEC View
☞ Section Index
❖ YEC Theological Proffer No. 1: OEC views are excluded because OEC views allow for death before the Fall but the Bible teaches death came into existence after the Fall as a consequence of man’s sin (here>>)
YEC Theological Proffer No. 1
❖ OEC Views are Excluded Because All OEC Views Allow for the Death of Animals Before the Fall, but the Bible Teaches Death Came into Existence After the Fall as a Consequence of Man’s Sin: Most YECs vehemently maintain Adam and Eve’s sin was the catalyst responsible for bringing death of men and animals into the world. Hence, in their view, no death of a human being or an animal could have occurred before the Fall. Some YECs maintain the first animal died when God killed an animal to provide Adam and Eve with clothing (Gen. 3:21). Because all OEC views allow for the existence of suffering and death before the Fall, YECs believe those views blatantly contradict Scripture. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 41-47 (1994); John C. Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)] YECs point to passages in Romans and I Corinthians to contend man’s sin brought about death to man and animals. Romans 5:12 says “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (NIV) states: “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 34-35, 43-46 (1994)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Adam and Eve Were not the First Creatures to Sin: “Adam and Eve were not the first creatures to sin. According to Scripture, Satan committed the first sin. When Satan sinned, he brought about his own spiritual death and the spiritual death of all the angels who joined him in his rebellion against God. Through Adam and Eve, Satan infected the human race with sin, but even that seeming disaster fits into God’s plan for conquering evil and revealing His grace and glory.” [Hugh Ross & Gleason Archer, The Genesis Debate, pg. 131 (2001)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-23 Only Reference Spiritual Death to Man, Not Animals: Genesis does not say one way or another whether animals died before the Fall. When God told Adam not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and warned Adam he would die when he ate of the tree, the Bible says nothing about the death of animals being brought about by that sinful act. Moreover, there is no theological basis for insisting that animals, which the Bible does not say were made in God’s image as men were (see Gen. 1:27, 9:6), could not have died before the Fall. “The timing of the introduction of death into the world does not affect the efficacy of Christ’s atonement” for man’s sin. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 104-105 (2004)]
Re Romans 5:12: Although Romans 5:12 teaches death entered the world through sin, the text was referring to human death, not animal death. Only humans have earned the title of being “sinners” and, therefore, only humans can experience death through sin. Romans 5 states “death came to all men [not animals], because all sinned.” Animals are not “innocent” or “guilty” any more than a desktop because they are not spiritual beings and do not have a spiritual relationship with God. In Romans 5, Paul was explaining man died spiritually as a result of rebellion against God. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 97-100 (2004)] YECs have expanded “the claimed scope of Romans 5:12 to include the death of animals in addition to the death of men.” However, in Romans 5:12, Paul refers to man by the use of the word “anthropos” which “always refers to human beings.” [Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death before the Fall“, pg. 3 (2007)]
Re I Cor. 15:21-23: In 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, Paul explains just as Adam brought death to man, Christ brings life to man. Biblical scholars interpret this passage as meaning Christ brings eternal spiritual life, not eternal physical life. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994)]
The Bible only teaches spiritual death (as opposed to physical death) of man was brought on by the Fall. Genesis 3:22-25 says after Adam and Eve sinned, God banished them from the garden and placed cherubim to guard the tree of life so they could not also eat of the tree of life. Accordingly, even after man sinned, it is apparent man still had the potential of obtaining eternal physical life by eating of the Tree of Life. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 60-68 (1994)] Additionally, “[i]f physical death was impossible to any animal life before the sin of Adam and Eve, why did Adam and Eve need to eat from a special Tree to have eternal life? Would not all animal life, including Adam and Eve, have already been immortal?” [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pg. 63 (2006)] In Genesis 2:17 (ASV), God warned Adam when he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. In accordance with that warning, when man ate of that tree, man immediately died a spiritual death because his relationship with God was broken. However, Adam continued to live physically to the age of 930 years (see Gen. 5:5).
❖ YEC Reply — Death from Man’s Sin was Spiritual and Physical: YECs argue the penalty for man’s sin was both spiritual and physical. Physical death as a penalty for man’s sin was demonstrated “by the death of sacrificial animals (beginning with those killed by God to clothe Adam and Eve).” This penalty was also verified by the physical deaths of Adam and later, Christ, the perfect sacrifice and atonement for man’s sin. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 47-51 (1994)]
❖ YEC Reply — Once Adam Sinned, His Physical Death Became an Immediate Certainty: Although Adam did not experience instantaneous physical death, the moment he sinned his “physical death became an immediate certainty.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 49 (1997)] A consequence delayed is not a consequence denied. Moreover, even though Genesis 2:17 is usually translated: “… you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”, some YECs point to an alternate translation which states “dying you shall die….” which they maintain means Adam’s physical death began when he ate of the tree but would not be completed until a later point which Genesis 5:5 tells us occurred when Adam was 930 years old. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 72 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Warning God Gave to Adam re Death Would Have had More Meaning if Adam had Already Observed the Death of Animals: Some OECs suggest God’s warning to Adam in Genesis 2:17 that he would die if he ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil would have had little or no meaning to Adam if he had never observed death. Therefore, they posit it is reasonable to conclude the death of animals had already occurred before God warned Adam he would die if he ate of the tree. [Alan Hayward, Creation and Evolution, pg. 182 (1995)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Even Assuming Six 24-Hour Days, Some Death Must Have Occurred Prior to Man‘s Fall: According to the YEC view, plants were created about 72 hours before the Fall (i.e., on Day 3) and animals were created 24 to 48 hours before the Fall (i.e., the first animals were created on Day 5 and the Fall did not occur until the end of Day 6). OECs assert even that short of a period of time is a problem for YECs if no death is permitted because many species cannot survive even three hours without food; therefore, the death of at least plants or plant parts must have occurred before the Fall. Moreover, it is unreasonable to maintain that not even one insect or other animal was inadvertently killed (e.g., by being stepped on by Adam, Eve or one of the numerous animals living in the garden) or that none of the sea creatures consumed any plankton, etc. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 98 (2004)] OECs also point out “some necessary biological activity in human beings, such as bacteria in our stomachs, would seem impossible if no death of living organisms before the Fall is permitted” because digestion requires the death of living organisms. [Walter Bradley, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 77 (1999); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 98 (2004)]
❖ YEC Reply — No Comparison Can be Made Between Plants/Lower Animals and Soulish Animals: James Stambaugh (a YEC) asserts “the Bible never ascribes to plants the status of ‘life,’ (nor to the “lower” animals, for that matter).” According to Stambaugh, the Bible is “very clear” that life “resides in the ‘soul,’ or the Hebrew word ‘nephesh.’” Moreover, “this quality [i.e., nephesh] is ascribed only to man and some animals, but never plants. The Bible is also very clear as to what happens to plants – ‘they wither and fade’ (Isaiah 40:6-8; James 1:10) but plants never die.” [James Stambaugh, Impact, No. 191, “Death Before Sin” (May, 1989)] YECs also maintain there is no evidence plants have minds or self-consciousness and further assert that nobody really believes plants suffer. From a Biblical view, plants are not alive in the same sense that humans and animals are. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 44-45 (1994)] Plant life and death is qualitatively different than the lives and death of men and animals as demonstrated by the fact humans and animals were vegetarian before the fall (Gen. 1:29-30) and will once again be vegetarian in the restored state (Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:25). [See, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 32 (2004)] It is also possible God miraculously prevented any death from occurring, even inadvertent death of insects and plankton.
➤ OEC Response — The Bible Attributes Death to “Lower Animals” as Well as Plants: Ross points to several verses which discuss the death of fish (Ex. 7:18, 21; Ps. 105:29; Is. 50:2), frogs (Ex. 8:13) and flies (Ecc. 10:1). He also cites to Exodus 10:17 which exhorts men to pray God would take a deadly plant-eating locust plague away. Ross notes the Hebrew words used in these verses for “die”, “died” and “death” (mut, mawet) are the same words the Bible uses for the death of humans. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 99 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — A View that No Death Occurred Before the Fall is Not Supported by the Geologic Record: If no death of animals occurred until after the Fall, the myriad of evidence of the death of animals in the fossil record must be attributed to the Flood. However, fossils exist in sedimentary rock formations that go down 25,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico and other sites around the world and these formations are made up of different types of sedimentary rock (e.g., from shells, soil deposits, precipitates and evaporation of shallow seas) and each formed under different geological conditions. It is too difficult to “account for this stupendous historical zoo from one recent, worldwide flood.” [Walter Bradley, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 77 (1999)]
❖ YEC Reply — The Global Flood Described in Genesis Accounts for the Fossil Record: “Adam and Eve were created in a paradise, not a graveyard of dead animals…. Because fossilization requires highly unusual circumstances and because most are buried in flood-laid sediments, it seems reasonable to believe that most of these animals were killed and buried by God’s global flood judgment….” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 21 (1996)]
YEC Theological Proffer No.2
❖ All OEC Views are Excluded Because Death of Animals Before the Fall Would Destroy Christ’s Work of Atonement on the Cross: YECs contend any view of creation which allows for the existence of animal death before the fall destroys the atoning work of Christ on the cross:
“The basis of the Gospel message is that God brought in death and bloodshed because of sin” and “[i]f death and bloodshed of animals (or man) existed before Adam sinned, then the whole basis of atonement — the basis of redemption — is destroyed.” — Ken Ham
[Ken Ham, Back to Genesis, pg. b, “Billions, Millions, or Thousands — Does It Matter?” (July 1992); Ken Ham, Back to Genesis, pg. c, “Closing the Gap” (Feb. 1990); see also, John Morris, Impact, pgs iii-iv,”Evolution and the Wages of Sin” (November, 1990)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Death of Animals Before the Fall Does Not Destroy the Gospel Message: As argued by OEC, Hugh Ross, the basic message of the gospel is: 1) God created man, 2) man sinned against God which caused man to become separated from God and 3) God sent His son to atone for man‘s sin so that man‘s relationship with God could be restored. This message is not destroyed if animals died before the Fall.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Not All Shed Blood is for Remission of Sin: Although the Bible says there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood (see Hebrews 9:22), “it does not necessarily follow that all shed blood is for the remission of sin.” Hebrews 10:1-4 explains the blood of animal sacrifice will not take away sin but it is a reminder that sin requires atonement be made and it would eventually be made by the shedding of Christ’s blood. Therefore, the shedding of animal blood before Adam’s sin “in no way affects or detracts from the doctrine of atonement.” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994)] In 1 Corinthians 15:39, Paul establishes that “[a]ll flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.” Therefore, it seems God sees and treats the death of animals, birds and fish differently than that of human beings.” [Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death Before the Fall”, pg. 3 (2007)] Nothing in Scripture indicates animals sin or that Christ died for the salvation of animals. Therefore, the death of animals before the Fall in no way makes a mockery of Christ’s work of atonement. Whether God chose to create the universe in six 24-hour days or He chose to create the universe over long periods of finite time has no bearing on the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “The timing of the introduction of death into the world does not affect the efficacy of Christ’s atonement.” [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 97-100, 104-105 (2004)]
YEC Theological Proffer No. 3
❖ All OEC Views are Excluded by Verses in Isaiah Establish Animals Were Not Carnivorous Before the Fall: All OEC views agree carnivorous animals roamed the earth for millions of years before God created Adam and Eve. However, passages in Isaiah support the YEC view that no carnivorous activity occurred before the Fall. For example, Isaiah 11:6-7, 9 says that when the Messiah rules in the future, the “wolf shall dwell with the lamb,” the “lion shall eat straw like the ox” and they “shall not hurt or destroy.” This passage, which describes what the animal kingdom will be like under Christ’s reign in the future, also shows what it was like before the Fall, i.e., there was peace between animals, not carnivorous activity which resulted in death. [John Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (June, 2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Isaiah 11’s Description of Animal Life Under Christ’s Reign is Metaphoric: Many Bible commentaries on Isaiah 11 refer to the statements in Isaiah as metaphoric descriptions of the peace that will exist during Christ’s rule. See, e.g., Wycliffe Bible Commentary and Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Isaiah 11’s Description of Animal Life in the Future Says Nothing About Animal Life in the Past: Even if the Isaiah 11 passages are literal descriptions of the peace that will exist in the animal kingdom under Christ’s rule in the future, that does not mean there was no pain or death of an animal in the past, before the Fall. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994)]
YEC Theological Proffer No. 4
❖ All OEC Views are Excluded by Verses in Genesis 1 Which Establish Man and Animals were purely Vegetarian Before the Fall: In the YEC view, Genesis 1:29-30 establishes men and animals were vegetarian before the Fall. In Genesis 1:29-30, God told man:
“I give you every seed‑bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground‑‑everything that has the breath of life in it ‑‑ I give every green plant for food.” (Italics added)
YECs maintain these verses establish all animals were vegetarian before the Fall; therefore, there was no carnivorous activity before the Fall. According to Van Bebber and Taylor, man was “not given permission to eat meat until after the flood (Genesis 9:2-3), almost 2,000 years later.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 20, 41-42 (1996)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Gen. 1:29-30 Does Not Exclude Carnivorous Activity Before the Fall: YECs are “arguing from a positive command to a negative command. They take the statement, ‘I give you X food’ to mean ‘You are forbidden to eat anything else.’ This does not necessarily follow.” [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pg. 66 (2006)] Hugh Ross likewise asserts Genesis 1:29-30 does not say animals only ate plants, just that God gave them every “green plant” to eat. In other words, the passage does not rule out the possibility animals could eat both plants and animals, just like the verses do not rule out animals eating non-green plants such as mushrooms, carrots. However, green plants are the foundation of the food chain and these verses show God provided man and animals with this essential food source. Further, logically speaking, even if animals were vegetarian before the Fall that would not mean animals couldn’t have died from something else, e.g., a bug being stepped on by Adam or a large animal, an animal being killed in a volcanic episode, etc. Ross further notes the Bible says carnivores receive their prey from the hand of God and that it is “good.” (see, Job 38:39-41; Ps. 104:21, 24-28). Since God says such acts are “good”, Ross implores Christians to exercise caution in calling carnivorous activity “evil.” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 60-68 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 101 (2004)] Likewise, David Snoke notes “a person might say, ‘Well, if I wanted to make a universe that was ‘very good,’ I wouldn’t include millions of years of animals suffering in it!’ But who are we to tell God what to do? No one can fathom the reasons for all that God does (Job 11:7; Ps. 145:3; Ecc. 3:11, 11:5; Is. 40:28). We must simply trust him when he tells us it is all ‘very good.’” [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 76-97 (2006)] Snoke proposes natural evil, including the death of animals, existed before Adam as “potential judgments” under the covenant of law and also demonstrated God’s perfect balance and mighty power. [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 89-95 (2006); see also, Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death before the Fall“ (2007)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — If Men Did not Eat Meat Until After the Flood, Why Was Abel Keeping Flocks?: Citing to Genesis 9:2-3, Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor contend men did not eat meat until after the flood which they maintain occurred 2,000 years after man was created. However, OECs query that if this is true, why does Genesis 4:2-4 report Abel was keeping flocks and bringing the fat portions to God as a sacrifice? OECs maintain these verses at least imply the flocks being kept by Abel were a source of food.
YEC Theological Proffer No. 5
“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Emphasis added)
YECs argue these verses establish Adam’s sin is responsible for all natural decay, including all pain and all suffering. Consequently, the period of time between the creation of the universe and the Fall must have been very brief (a few days) because there is no period in the geological record where there is no decay — no pain or death. [See, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 30 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Romans 8 Does Not Say the Groaning of Creation Occurred Only After the Fall: Romans 8:22 says the creation has been groaning “up to the present time.” This does not say creation only began groaning after the Fall. Under Romans 8, nature could have been groaning since the very beginning of creation, i.e., before the Fall. [See, David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pg. 73 (2006)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Some Pain and Decay Had to Have Occurred Before the Fall: It is impossible for even one 24-hour period to have passed without any decay because according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, there can be no work (even breathing, contracting muscles, etc.) without the decay that occurs when energy is used to do work. Further, in Genesis 3:16 God said because of Eve’s sin, pain in child bearing would be greatly “increased” (not initiated) which indicates there would have been some pain even if Eve had not sinned. As noted by Randy Alcorn, it is likely the pain that existed before man sinned was to keep the residents of Eden aware of dangers in the environment (e.g., heat that could burn them, etc.) and childbearing pain may have been necessary to stimulate a physical response that aided the birthing process. [See, Randy Alcorn, If God is Good, pg. 58 (2009)] Ross maintains Romans 8 refers to the increase in decay in people’s lives and the environment caused by man’s sin. [See, Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 65-67 (1994); David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pg. 73 (2006)]
❖ YEC Reply — Even if There was Some Pain and Suffering Before the Fall, it was Greatly Increased After the Fall: Some YECs concede “work and pain existed before sin”, but they assert work and pain “were greatly increased after the Fall (Genesis 3:16-19).” Therefore, they maintain the Fall still gives meaning to the bondage to decay referenced in Romans 8. [See, Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 18, 34-35 (1996)]
Note re Assertion that the Second Law of Thermodynamics was a Curse Put on Creation After the Fall: Although many YECs have abandoned the argument, some suggest the Second Law of Thermodynamics (SLOT) was a curse put on man at the Fall. In response, it has been pointed out that if SLOT was not operating before the Fall, Adam would have suffocated in the carbon dioxide he exhaled since carbon dioxide will not diffuse without SLOT being in operation. Other phenomena which could not exist without SLOT being in effect is solar heating of the earth, walking and digestion. Therefore, SLOT must have been in effect prior to the Fall. [See, Walter Bradley, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 77 (1999); Jonathan Sarfati, “The Second law of Thermodynamics, Answers to Critics”, CMI]
YEC Theological Proffer No. 6
❖ Bible Passages Referencing God’s Restoration of Earth Require a YEC View: Acts 3:21 (NIV) states Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore [in Greek, apokatastasis] everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Emphasis added.) YECs maintain these verses indicate God intends to restore the world to a paradise, not to an old earth full of death, extinctions and natural catastrophes. [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 19 (1996)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Scripture Points to a New Heaven and New Earth, Not a Restored Earthly Paradise: Isaiah 66:22 says “…The new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord.” (Emphasis added). 2 Peter 3:13 says, “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth….” (Emphasis added.) In Revelation 21:1-5, John recorded the following:
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Emphasis added) — Revelation 21:1-5
Accordingly, Hugh Ross contends that God does not intend to restore the world into a paradise but, rather, intends to create an entirely new heaven and new earth which Ross believes will operate according to a different set of physical laws. In support of this proposition, Ross points to Revelation 21:16 which says the new Jerusalem will be a 1,500 mile cube (12,000 stadia in length, width and height). Because the physical laws which govern the present universe do not permit the existence of a square object that large (because gravity causes any object larger than a few hundred miles across to collapse into a sphere), Ross posits the new heavens may operate under a different set of physical laws. Similarly, Ross believes Revelation 21:4’s statement that in the new creation there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” and the reference in Romans 8:21-23 that the universe “will be liberated from its bondage to decay” are further indications that a different set of physical laws will operate the new heavens and new earth. [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 69-70 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 93-94 (2004)] Additionally, the space-time theories of general relativity establish even time itself came into existence when the universe came into existence. Since eternity is not restrained by time, if we are going to live with God throughout eternity, it seems that the “new heavens and new earth” would not be constrained by the time dimension that presently governs this universe (more>>).
YEC Theological Proffer No. 7
❖ Bible Passages Referencing Events Occurring in “the Beginning” Mandate a YEC View: YECs such as John Whitcomb, point to a number of Bible passages in contending OEC views are inconsistent with Scripture:
In response to a question from the Pharisees as to the legality of divorce, Jesus asked them what Moses had commanded. When the Pharisees responded Moses permitted divorce, Jesus replied, “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law …. But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female”…. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife….” (emphasis added)
In the YEC view, Jesus’ statement that God made humans male and female “at the beginning of creation,” eliminates an old earth view in which the earth would have existed long before God created man. [John Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal – Man was Created on Day Six, Not at the Beginning of Creation: Since man was not created until Day 6, even under a 24-hour view of creation, man did not exist “at the beginning of creation.” Therefore, the “beginning” referenced in Mark 10 could not be the beginning of the universe or the beginning of Earth. Further, nothing in the context of Mark 10 suggests Jesus was referring to the beginning of the universe. Rather, the context indicates He was referring to “the beginning of humanity’s story, the story of the first husband and wife.” Hugh Ross cites to a writing co-authored by YEC John Whitcomb in which Whitcomb conceded in a parallel passage (see, Matt. 19:4) that Jesus was referring to Adam and Eve’s beginning, not the beginning of Earth. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 93 (2004) citing to John Whitcomb & Henry Morris, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, pg. 21 (1961, 1979)]
Jesus told the Pharisees the tombs they built to the martyred prophets testified against them because they were rejecting Him just like their forefathers, whom they criticized, had rejected the prophets. Jesus then said: “Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world ….” (Emphasis added.)
YECs assert Jesus’ statement demonstrates the blood of the prophets began to be shed “since the beginning of the world” thereby eliminating all old earth views, i.e., views in which the “beginning of the world” was billions of years before the prophets were born. [John Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal – The Prophets Did Not Exist at the Beginning of Creation: Since even YECs would have to agree the prophets were not created on Day 1, this verse cannot stand for the proposition that the prophets existed from the beginning of the world. Rather, Jesus was merely saying the generation He was speaking to would be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets whose blood had been shed since the beginning of the world, whenever the shedding of their blood began.
In this verse, Jesus described the distress men would suffer during the tribulation which He said would be days of distress “unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world.” (Emphasis added.) YECs maintain this verse, which says that man has suffered distress since “the beginning,” eliminates all old earth views, i.e., views in which “the “beginning” was billions of years before Adam was created. [John Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal – Man Did Not Suffer Pain from the Beginning of Creation: Since YECs believe there was no pain or suffering before the Fall, which occurred some time after Adam was created on Day 6, even under a YEC view, Mark 13:19 cannot stand for the proposition that man’s suffering existed from the very beginning of time. This verse merely states the days of distress during the tribulation would be unequaled to any distress experienced by man from the beginning, whenever man began experiencing distress.
John 8:44 and 1 John 3:8:
John 8:44 says Satan was a “murderer from the beginning” and 1 John 3:8 says Satan “has been sinning from the beginning.” (Emphasis added.) According to YEC, John Whitcomb, these verses prove Satan’s rebellion against God did not occur millions of years before Adam because after God created Adam and Eve, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (See, Gen 1:31). According to Whitcomb, “[i]t was therefore sometime between the end of the seventh day and the temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9) that Satan led his great angelic rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:15; Isaiah 14:12-15)….” [John Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal – Satan’s Beginning Wasn’t the Same Time as the Beginning of the Universe: John 8:44 and 1 John 3:8 could easily be referring to Satan’s beginning, whenever that occurred, not the beginning of the universe or the world. The fact the Bible reports Satan was a murderer from the beginning and has been sinning from the beginning says nothing about how old the earth is.
➤ OEC Rebuttal – God Said His Creation was Very Good, Not Perfect: God said His creation was “very good”; He did not say it was perfect and the verse may be indicating that God’s creation is very good for the purpose of conquering evil which began when Satan led his angelic rebellion against God.
In this verse, Paul states that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Whitcomb asserts this passage must refer “to men, not animals, who saw God’s invisible attributes of greatness at the time of the world’s creation”, thereby excluding all old earth views. [John C. Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (2003)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal – Man Wasn’t Created Until Day Six so Man Didn’t Observe God’s Qualities from the Beginning of Creation: Because YECs agree man was not created until Day 6, Romans 1:20 cannot stand for the proposition that men saw God’s invisible attributes since the very beginning of creation. Rather, Romans 1:20 was merely saying that from the beginning of man’s existence, man has observed God’s invisible attributes evident in His creation.
YEC Theological Proffer No. 8
❖ The Genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 Require a YEC View: According to the YEC view, the age of the earth can be calculated by simply adding up the ages of the men identified in the genealogies set forth in Genesis 5 and 11 which begin with Adam (who, in the YEC view, was created on Day 6) and end with Abraham’s family. Based on the ages of the people referenced in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies, YECs calculate the earth is about 6,000 years if no telescoping within the genealogies is permitted and no more than about 12,000 years old if telescoping is permitted. The typical sentence structure used in the genealogies is as follows:
|“When X lived Y years, he became (yalad) the father (ab) of Z and after he became (yalad) the father (ab) of Z, he lived ___ years. X had other sons (ben) and daughters (bath). Altogether, X lived ___ years then died.”|
YECs assert that because Genesis is the infallible and inerrant word of God, adding up the lifespans of the men listed in the Genesis 5:1-32 and 11:10-32 genealogies will provide an accurate date of when Adam was created, which would have been on the 6th day of creation. Based on the genealogies in Genesis, various calculations for the age of the earth have been proposed:
- Lightfoot’s Calculations: In 1642, Cambridge Vice-Chancellor and theologian John Lightfoot (1602-1675) calculated God created the universe on September 17, 3928 B.C. [Andrew A. White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, I, 9 (1960)] After Archbishop Ussher published his calculations which produced a different creation date (see below), Lightfoot adjusted his calculations and concluded creation occurred from October 18-24, 4004 with Adam being created on October 23, 4004 B.C. [See, Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 25-26 (1994)]
- Ussher’s Calculations: In 1650, James Ussher (1581-1656), Archbishop of Ireland, analyzed the genealogies in the Old Testament and calculated the universe was created on October 3, 4004 B.C. [See, James Ussher, Annales Veteris et Novi Testamenti (1650-1654); see also, Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 25-26 (1994)]HA
- Modern-Day Calculations: Today, most YECs reject the precise nature of the calculations published by Ussher and Lightfoot but continue to maintain the Genesis genealogies require a date of creation of no more than 6,000 years if no telescoping within the genealogies is permitted and no more than 10.000 – 12,000 years ago if telescoping is permitted. [See, Henry Morris, Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, pgs. 66-71,79-81 (1970); John Morris, The Young Earth, pg. 39 (1994) and John Whitcomb, The Early Earth, pgs. 107-111 (1972)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Many Genealogies in the Bible Were “Telescoped”: OECs maintain ancient Hebrew genealogies were characteristically limited to important figures, a specific number of people or to notable descendants, rather than each individual in an ancestral chain. This is referred to as telescoping. [See, John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”; Wm. Henry Green, “Primeval Chronology” Bibliotheca Sacra, 47 (1890), 285-303] OECs further point out that on many occasions telescoped genealogies were reduced to a particular number of names that were multipliers of 7 or 10. For example, the genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 is presented in three groups of 14 and the genealogy in Luke 3:23-48 is presented in three groups of 21. The genealogies contained in Genesis 5:1-32, Genesis 11:10-32 and Ruth 4:18-22 all contain 10 names. OECs argue such symmetry suggests an intentional arrangement. [See, John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”; Wm. Henry Green, “Primeval Chronology,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 47, pgs. 285-303 (1890)] Specific examples of telescoped genealogies are provided as follows:
Second Chronicles identifies several individual generations (Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah) between Uzziah (Ozias in Greek) and Jehoram (Joram in Greek). However, to present a group of 14, Matthew 1:1-17 skips the generations between Uzziah (Ozias in Greek) and lists Jehoram (Joram in Greek) as the “father” of Ozias.
Additionally, adding up the years in Genesis 11 without permitting any telescoping leads to some anomalies: For example, it would mean that Shem (Noah’s son who was one of the 8 people on Noah’s ark), Arphaxad (Noah’s grandson through Shem), and Eber (Abraham’s great, great, great, great grandfather) all outlived Peleg (Eber’s son – see Gen. 10:25) and Terah (Abraham’s father), even though the Bible’s narrative of Abraham’s life indicates the events surrounding the Flood had long since passed. [See, John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”; Wm. Henry Green, “Primeval Chronology,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 47 (1890); see also, Kenneth Mathews, The Apologetics Study Bible, “Are the Biblical Genealogies Reliable?” (Holman Bible Publishers, 2007)]
❖ YEC Reply — The Inclusion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 was a Copying Error: As explained by YEC Jonathan Sarfati, although the Bible is the God-breathed, inerrant word of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17, 2 Peter 1:20–21), such inerrancy does not extend to copies or translations of the original texts of the Old and New Testaments. The inclusion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 is an example of “one of the extremely few copyist’s errors in the manuscripts available today” and explains why Cainan was not referenced in Genesis 11:12.
YECs such as Sarfati propose an early copyist of Luke’s gospel was copying what is now designated as Luke 3:36 but his eyes glanced down at Luke 3:37 (which also contains the name of Cainan) and the copyist mistakenly copied Cainan into Luke 3:36 such that both Luke 3:36 and Luke 3:37 contain the name of Cainan. Sarfati argues the proposition that the inclusion of Cainan in Luke 3:36 was due to an inadvertent copying error is supported by the fact that the “extra” Cainan included in Luke 3:36 was not referenced in the Hebrew text or by Josephus. It was only referenced in manuscripts of the Septuagint (aka the LXX) written long after Luke’s gospel had been written. [See, Jonathan Sarfati , “How do you explain the difference between Luke 3:36 and Gen. 11:12?” (www.creation.com) accessed 2/4/13]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — DNA Studies are Presently in Harmony with a Telescoped View of the Bible’s Genealogical Record: The amount of telescoping attributed to the Genesis genealogies is within the range of dates established by DNA evidence for the origin of man. Moreover, historical evidence for the earliest dates of cave drawings (33,000 years ago) as well as jewelry making, clothing and complex language (40,000 years ago) also fit within the DNA date ranges. Accordingly, as presently understood, the historical record is in harmony with the record of the telescoped genealogies contained in the Bible. [John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”; Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question, 2nd. Ed, pg. 107-115 (2001); Hugh Ross, GENESIS ONE, A Scientific Perspective, pgs. 20-22 (2006); Fuz Rana, “Does human genetic evidence support Noah’s flood?” (2012), video clip on www.reasons.org]
❖ YEC Reply – Telescoping Would Not Add Enough Years to Harmonize the Bible with the Presently Accepted Record of Nature: Some YECs concede the Genesis genealogies may be telescoped; however, they believe it is “absurd to accept insertions of tens of thousands of years in the genealogies.” Even if some telescoping is permitted, most YECs give a date of creation of no more than 10,000 – 12,000 years ago. [See, Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 40 (1996)]
➤ OEC Sur-Rebuttal – Telescoping Could Account for Up to 60,000 Years: Based on the genealogies in the Bible, some have suggested that up to 60,000 years could have passed since Adam’s creation. “The maximum age of 60,000 years is based on the genealogies being no less that 10% complete (i.e., 1 out of every 10 recorded). This limit is based on studies of the estimated degree of completeness of other biblical genealogies. [See, John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”; Wm. Henry Green, “Primeval Chronology,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 47 (1890)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Hebrew Words for “Father” (Ab), “Son” (Ben) and “Begat” (Yalad) Have Much Broader Meanings than their English Translations: The Hebrew words “ab” (father), “ben” (son) and “yalad” (begat) which are used in the Genesis genealogies have much broader meanings than their English translations suggest:
Ab: “Ab” (translated “father”) can also mean: 1) Grandfather (e.g., Gen. 28:13 refers to Abraham as the “ab” of Jacob but Abraham was Jacob’s grandfather, not father); 2) Ancestors (e.g., in 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah cried, “Take my life, I am no better than my “ab” (translated as ancestors); 3) Clan (see, Jer. 35:6); 4) Tribe (see, Josh. 19:47); 5) Group with a special calling (see, 1 Chron. 24:19); 6) Dynasty (see, 1 Kings 15:3) or 7) Nation (see, Josh. 24:3). [See also, Spiros Zodhiates, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words and Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible (1984)]
Ben: “Ben” (translated “son”) can also mean grandson, great grandson, descendant or legal heir. For example, in Daniel 5:1-2, Belshazzar is described as the “ben” of Nebuchadnezzar but historians believe Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus and wasn’t even biologically related to Nebuchadnezzar. Belshazzar was only Nebuchadnezzar’s “ben” (i.e., son) in the sense that he was a legal heir. See also Ruth 4:13-17 in which Obed was the legal son (ben) of Naomi but the biological son (ben) of Ruth.
Yalad: “Yalad” (translated “begat” or “became”) can also mean “to bear” (see, Josh. 24:3). [See also, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words and Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates (1984)] In Deuteronomy 32:18, God reminded Israel He “begat” (translated from “yalad“) them. In Numbers 11:12, Moses declared he had not “begotten” (translated from “yalad“) Israel.
[See, John Millam, “The Genesis Genealogies”]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Could a Messianic Message Explain the Telescoping of the Genesis 5 Genealogy?: At least one Bible scholar, Chuck Missler, offers an additional view of the Genesis 5 genealogy which may support an assertion that the genealogy in Genesis 5 was telescoped for the purpose of relating a Messianic message. According to Missler, the original Hebrew root meanings of the names included in Genesis 5 are as follows:
As presented by Missler, the root meanings of the names included in the Genesis 5 genealogy convey the following message:
Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow; [but] the Blessed God shall come down teaching [that] His death shall bring [the] despairing rest. Based on the above, an argument could be made that certain names were included in the Hebrew genealogies, and others excluded, for the purpose of conveying a Messianic message.
YEC Theological Proffer No. 9
❖ God’s Sabbath Command Requires a YEC View: The Ten Commandments are set forth in Exodus 20:1-17. YECs point to Exodus 20:9-11 in contending God’s Sabbath command requires a YEC view. Exodus 20:9-11 (the Fourth Commandment) says: “Six days you shall labor…but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.”
YECs assert that because the Fourth Commandment describes a 24-hour Sabbath immediately preceded by six consecutive 24-hour work days and compares this to the creation week, it is clear the creation days were six consecutive 24-hour days. [See, John C. Whitcomb, Impact, “Progressive Creationism” (June, 2003); Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pgs. 72-73 (2004)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Sabbath Command Merely Establishes a 6:1 Sabbath Cycle for Man: OECs make three points in rebuttal to the YEC assertion that Exodus 20 mandates each day (“yom”) in Genesis 1 refers to a 24-hour period:
Point No. 1: Exodus 20:9-11 is just one of five places the Pentateuch addresses the Fourth Commandment. In three of the five passages, no connection is made between God’s work and man’s work (Ex. 35:2, Lev. 23:3 and Deut. 5:12-15). [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 91 (2004)]
Point No. 2: Read in context, Exodus 20 merely established a Sabbath pattern of 6 work periods followed by one rest period and although men are called to commemorate God’s activities, the actions of men are never identical to God’s actions. The Bible recognizes several patterns of work/rest. For man’s labor, it is six 24-hour days of work followed by one 24-hour day of rest (Ex. 20:9-11). For land, it is working the land for 6 years and resting it the 7th year (Ex. 23:10-11, Lev. 25:3-7). A pattern of work/rest is replicated for weeks (Feast of Weeks), months (Feast of Trumpets) and years (Sabbath Years) and each set of seven weeks of years (7 weeks x 7 years or 49 years) is followed by a year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-17). [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 59-60 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 91-92 (2004); Robert Newman & Perry Phillips, Genesis One and the Origin of Earth, 2nd Ed., pg. 58 (2007)]
Point No. 3: David Snoke, a proponent of the Day-Age view of creation proposes a parallel may exist between the seven days (ages) of creation recorded Genesis 1 and the cycles of sevens noted in Revelation:
“[T]he number seven always represents perfection and completeness in the Bible. [God’s Sabbath rest] follows six ages of creation, defined by God, for a perfect whole. The use of the number seven to indicate completion or perfection also appears strongly in the book of Revelation. The symbolism of the seven days of creation has a close analogy with the seven seals introduced in Revelation 5-6. Along with the seven trumpets of Revelation 8-9 and the seven plagues of Revelation 16…. In each cycle of seven, after six stages of destruction, the seventh stage brings rest…” Both Genesis and Revelation use seven periods to indicate a long process, and the number seven indicates completion.” [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 107-108 (2006)]
In accordance with the patterns of sevens used in the Bible, it is maintained the Genesis 1 creation account could have been written to reflect a pattern of seven (a period of six “days” (yoms) followed by rest on the seventh “day” (yom).
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Anthropomorphic References to God May Demonstrate a Non-Literal Intent: In the view of OECs, Lee Irons and Meredith Kline, anthropomorphic descriptions of God (i.e., descriptions of God in human-like terms) in the Fourth Commandment (Ex. 20:8-11) indicate a non-literal intent. The Fourth Commandment describes God as “working” and “resting”, but God does not literally work and rest. According to Irons and Kline, the word used for “rest” (“naphash”) means to rest and be refreshed which they maintain cannot be interpreted literally as applied to God because it would mean God needed to rest and be refreshed, but the Bible clearly states God does not grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28). Therefore, in their view, the nature of the rest described in the Fourth Commandment was meant to be interpreted as an analogy which meaningfully establishes a pattern of working six days and resting one day. [See, Lee Irons & Meredith Kline, The Genesis Debate, pgs. 249-250 (2001)]
❖ YEC Reply — Exodus 20 Does Not Say the Creation Week was a Commemorative Representation: Exodus 20:11 “does not say that the six day week is a commemorative representation of a Creation epoch. To the contrary, God set in stone the fact that He created everything that exists in six days, and rested on the seventh.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 61-62 (1996)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Bible Repeatedly Uses Metaphors Without Specifically Indication a Metaphoric Use: Nothing in Scripture requires a literal interpretation unless a metaphoric use is specifically stated in the text. There are multiple examples in the Bible of metaphors being used without the text indicating metaphoric use. See for example: Psalm 18:2 (“God is my rock”); Matt. 5:13 (You are the salt of the earth); John 10:7 (Jesus said, “I am the door”); Luke 13:32 (Jesus told his disciples to go tell “the fox ….” — referring to Herod)
➤ OEC Rebuttal — God’s Sabbath Rest is Part of an Analogical Two-Register Cosmology: Lee Irons and Meredith Kline (proponents of the Literary Framework View of creation) maintain God’s rest on Day 7 was in the upper-register (the invisible heavens) which has an earthly parallel, namely, the Sabbath rest following six days of work. Some day, God’s people will enter God’s rest (Heb. 4:4, 9, 10) but until that time, the seventh creation day does not belong to “the lower register world of human solar-day experience.” It is heaven time, not earth time. In the view of Irons and Kline, the heavenly nature of Day 7 is confirmed by the fact that the rest God’s people will experience is ongoing and unending. [See, Lee Irons & Meredith Kline, The Genesis Debate, pg. 243 (2001); Meredith Kline, “Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony” (1996)]
YEC Theological Proffer No. 10
❖ God’s Righteous Character Requires a YEC View: YECs assert that in contrast to the claims of OECs in which God created a world full of frequent death and suffering of animals as well as extinctions and catastrophes, the Genesis account describes a fully developed, equipped and functional creation free of disease and suffering. In Genesis 1:31, God judged His creation as “very good.” According to the YEC view, “Earth began as a paradise, not a world of travail.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 17 (1996)]
As argued by YECs Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor, all OEC views necessarily require a belief God used “a process of elimination, death by fang and claw – cold and unmerciful to the weak.” Van Bebber and Taylor then posit, “Could even a sadist think of a more cruel and ugly way to produce the animals over which Adam was to rule? What a horrible thing to accuse Jesus Christ of doing!” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 21-22 (1996)] Similarly, Henry Morris of ICR states any view of creation which allows for the existence of pain or death before man’s rebellion “implies a God who is either sadistic or incompetent (or demonstrates “wanton cruelty) – certainly not the God of the Bible who cares when even a sparrow dies” (see Matt. 10:29-31). [Henry Morris, Back to Genesis, “The Days Do Matter” (2004); Henry Morris, Back to Genesis, “The Eternal Future of Time, Space, and Matter” (2004)] Although Morris stops short of charging OECs with heresy, he asserts OEC views which portray God as permitting pain and death of animals before the Fall, “seems very close to heresy, if not blasphemy.” [Henry Morris, Back to Genesis, “The Eternal Future of Time, Space, and Matter” (2004)] “A loving merciful God would never be guilty of a creative process involving the suffering and death of multitudes of innocent animals.” [Henry Morris, Impact, pg. ii, “Recent Creation is a Vital Doctrine”] Although some YECs, such as Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, concede a bloody history “could perhaps be made consistent with the purposes of a wise and loving God”, they do not see how such a history would be appealing to non-Christians. [Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg. 47 (1999)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — Adam and Eve Were not the First Creatures to Sin: YECs rely on the Fall of man to explain why pain and suffering entered the world. However, “Adam and Eve were not the first creatures to sin. According to Scripture, Satan committed the first sin.” [Hugh Ross & Gleason Archer, The Genesis Debate, pg. 131 (2001)] When Satan sinned, he brought about his own spiritual death and the spiritual death of all the angels who joined him in his rebellion against God. Through Adam and Eve, Satan infected the human race with sin, but even that seeming disaster fit into God’s plan for conquering evil and revealing His grace and glory.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — God Treats the Death of Animals Differently than the Death of Mankind: At least some YECs admit the death of a plant is different than the death of an animal or a man (see above). Likewise, the Bible indicates God treats the death of animals differently than the death of a man. For example, following the flood, God commanded: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:5-6) Animals were not created in the image of God and no death penalty has ever been imposed by God for the killing of an animal. Because animals are not spiritual beings, the death of animals before man sinned does not demean God’s righteous character. [See, Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death before the Fall” (2007)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — If YECs Believe it Would Have Been Unrighteous for God to Allow Animals to Die Before the Fall, Why was it Righteous for God to Punish Animals for Man’s Sin?: YECs deduce it would have been unjust for God to permit death of animals to occur prior to the Fall but they maintain death was a righteous punishment for man’s rebellion. However, such reasoning implies God dispensed punishment on plants and animals even though plants and animals did nothing to deserve God’s wrath because plants and animals do not sin. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 97-98 (1994)] As posited by David Snoke, “How could it be just to have animals die when they had not sinned? Yet animals still have not sinned even now. Their death before the fall could be no more or less just than their death after the fall.” [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 26-27 (2006)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — God Views Death and Pain Differently than Men Do: God could reduce man’s suffering even today but He chooses not to do so. Rather, God, who is loving and merciful, allows man (the epitome of His creation) to suffer discomfort, illness, injury and death and even calls the death of His saints “precious” (Psalm 116:15). Couldn’t the death and suffering of grass, leaves, protozoa and even animals before the Fall fulfill a righteous purpose of God whose ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts? (Isaiah 55:9). [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 88 (1994)] As argued by David Snoke, no one can fathom the reasons for all that God does (Job 11:7; Ps. 145:3; Ec. 3:11, 111:5; Is. 40:28). “We must simply trust him when he tells us it is all ‘very good.’” In Snoke’s view, natural evil, including the death of animals, existed before Adam as ‘potential judgments’ under the covenant of law and also demonstrated God’s perfect balance and mighty power. [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 89-95 (2006)]
❖ YEC Reply — Although God Permits Pain and Suffering, He Doesn’t Take Pleasure in It: “Death is not precious to God, if by that one means that He delights in the death of His saints.” [Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pg. 42 (1996)] Although God has permitted suffering and death in the post-Fall world, we should not suppose He takes pleasure in suffering and death. In John 11:33, Jesus demonstrated feelings of sorrow, indignation and agitation with respect to Lazarus’ death.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — God Said His Creation was “Very Good,” Not Perfect: God said His creation was “good” and “very good,” not that it was perfect (see Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 16-18, 21, 25, 31). Hugh Ross contends God, as a free will being, could chose to create a world “very good” for the purpose for which He created it (e.g., to conquer evil) without being perfect for every purpose man can conceive. As asserted by Rodney Whitefield, God’s description of His creation as being “very good” does not exclude animal death before the Fall. In Numbers 14:7, Joshua and Caleb reported the land of Canaan was “very very good land”; but, this “very very good land” contained dangerous people and was a land in which animal death occurred. [Rodney Whitefield, “Very Very Good, Very Good, and Animal Death before the Fall,” pg. 1 (2007)] As noted by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, this world may not be the best possible world but it may be the only way to the best possible world.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Remnants of Animals that Died Prior to the Fall Has Served an Important Purpose of Providing Men With Needed Natural Resources: Hugh Ross proposes God may have chosen to create man at the very end of His creative works so man would get the maximum benefit of the bio-deposits that developed over Earth’s long history. The bodies of the animals that died before the Fall has produced an abundance of bio-deposits which have provided man with top soil, coal, gas and oil. [Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question, pgs. 42-43, 53, 57-58 (2001)]
➤ OEC Rebuttal — God May Have Allowed Death Before the Fall to Balance Out Earth’s Biodiversity: In maintaining the position that God may have had good reasons for allowing the death of animals before the Fall, some OECs such as Fuz Rana of Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org) point to scientific studies that indicate carnivorous activity plays an important role in balancing out Earth’s biodiversity. In one such study, two species of bean weevils were out‑competing each other into extinction; but, when a carnivorous wasp was added to the environment, both species of weevil were able to survive at healthy levels. As summarized by Rana, “studies like the one on weevils and wasps imply that the loving God of the Bible may have very good reasons for purposefully including animal death in His creation before and after the Fall…. [A]nimal death powerfully reflects the biblical theme of life coming through death. In nature, plants die so herbivores can live; herbivores die to feed carnivores, and so on. In Scripture, Jesus Christ died to give eternal life to humanity, and Christians, in turn, die to themselves to follow Christ…” [Fuz Rana, www.reasons.org, “Of Weevils and Wasps: God’s Good Purpose in Animal Death”, March 26, 2012]
YEC Theological Proffer No. 11
❖ God’s Omnipotence Requires a YEC View: Some YECs maintain anything other than a YEC view depreciates the omnipotent power of God. In their view, a God who would take billions of years to create the universe/earth would be less powerful than the God described in the Bible, who they believe created the universe in 144 hours, i.e., six consecutive 24-hour days.
➤ OEC Rebuttal — The Amount of Time God Chose to Complete His Creation is not Indicative of His Power: It could be argued that even 144 hours (6 days) is too long for an “all-powerful” God to complete the creation described in Genesis. In fact, anything other than instantaneous creation could be considered too long. However, even an “all-powerful” God is not compelled to exercise all His power at one time or to act within any particular time frame, other than the time frame He chooses. The Bible is full of passages which demonstrate God chooses to exercise restraint. As stated in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 70-71(1994); see also, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 94-95 (2004)]
Based on hundreds of years of archeological and geological studies as well as the advent of the telescope and other devices which have permitted scientists to more thoroughly investigate and measure the universe, the great majority of scientists today believe there is overwhelming evidence the universe and the Earth are billions of years old. OECs maintain such scientific findings are entirely consistent with OEC interpretations (more>>) of the biblical creation account.
Many YECs directly challenge the conclusions of scientists that the universe and Earth are billions of years old by offering competing scientific explanations of the scientific evidence which they maintain are consistent with a young Earth. [See, www.icr.org, www.answersingenesis.org, www.creationontheweb.com, www.christiananswers.net] Other YECs, including Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds, readily admit natural science presently “seems to overwhelmingly point to an old cosmos” and although “creationist scientists have suggested some evidences for a recent cosmos, none are widely accepted as true.” Even though Nelson and Reynolds agree “most recent creationists are motivated by religious concerns,” they say “when the dust has settled from the intellectual revolution, … it would not be surprising that “things once ‘known’ for sure would be much less certain.” [Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pgs. 49-51 (1999)]
Some of the scientific findings OECs rely on in raising objections to the YEC view are summarized below; however, a thorough review of the scientific evidence and the responses YECs make to the proffers of evidence is beyond what can be addressed in this article. Consequently, readers will be directed to OEC and YEC websites where the reader can investigate the scientific issues in appropriate detail.
☞ Section Index
Earth days are 24 hours long because that is how long it takes the earth to rotate on its axis one time as the earth revolves around the sun once every 365 days. During each 24 hour period, the side of the earth facing the sun experiences daylight and the side facing away from the sun experiences nightfall.
OECs contend the YEC interpretation that Days 1-3 in Genesis 1 refer to 24-hour days cannot possibly be correct because, according to that view, the sun was not created until Day 4 and no 24 hour day/night (evening/morning) cycles could have occurred before the sun came into existence. Vern Poythress poses the problem as follows: Genesis 1:14-19 states God made the heavenly bodies on the fourth day to “serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” Because Genesis 1:14 states these heavenly bodies were created for the purpose of providing man with a standard to identify days and years, there is no way to calculate the length of Day 1, Day 2 or Day 3 which, according to YECs, preexisted the creation of the sun and moon. Many OECs maintain this is a clear indication the word “yom” in Genesis (translated “day”) was not meant to refer to a 24-hour period; rather, the author was using “yom“: 1) metaphorically; 2) analogically; or, 3) literally — but, the author intended to refer to one of the other literal meanings of the Hebrew word “yom.” it was either meant to have an analogical meaning or meant to refer to one of the other Hebrew meanings of the word “yom”.
As explained by Hugh Ross and supported by Gleason Archer, the Hebrew word “yom” (translated into English as “day”) can literally “indicate any of four time periods: 1) some portion of the daylight (hours); 2) sunrise to sunset; 3) sunset to sunset, 4) a segment of time without any reference to solar days (from weeks to a year to several years to an age or epoch).” “‘Yom’ cannot, however, be interpreted as indefinite (such as anytime or someday) or as infinite time.” [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 73 (2004) citing to Brown, Driver & Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, pgs. 398-401(1997), H.W.F. Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, pgs. 341-342 (1979) and Harris, Archer & Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1:370-371(1980)] See also, William Wilson’s examination of the word “yom” in which he states “yom” is “frequently put for time in general, or for a long time, a whole period under consideration …. Day [yom] is also put for a particular season or time when any extraordinary event happens.” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 46 (1994) citing to William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, pg. 109 (1978)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal – Although the Semantic Range of the Word “Yom” Does Include a Long Period, that is Not How the Word was Normally Used: YEC Jonathan Sarfati concedes the “semantic range” of the word “yom” includes a long period of time. However, because the Old Testament uses the word “yom” 2,300 times to denote a 24-hour period, Sarfati adamantly maintains that in its normal sense, “yom” refers to a 24-hour period which is what the author of Genesis intended to convey. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 68 (2004) citing to James Stambaugh, “The Days of Creation: A Semantic Approach,” CEN Tech. J. 5(1):70-78 (1991); see also, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. “In the Space of Six Days” (2000)] Additionally, although Sarfati agrees the context of a verse can justify something other than a literal interpretation and that “in some contexts”, “yom” can have a non-literal meaning, he argues “the meaning of a word must be determined by how it is used in the specific context, not by possible meanings in unrelated contexts. In this case, Genesis 1:14 says the heavenly bodies were created “for signs and for seasons and for days and years” which Sarfati asserts must be a solar day, not a geologic period of time. [Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pgs. 68-69 (2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — God Could Have Provided a Light Source Other than the Sun on Days 1-3: As suggested by YECs J. Ligon Duncan and David W. Hall, “God, the Creator, may have employed non-solar sources of light before creating the sun. Since God is light and in Him is no darkness, He certainly does not depend on the sun for light…. Consistent with this response, the final chapters of Scripture present a future time during which light will come from non-solar sources (Rev. 21:23; 25:5).” [J. Ligon Duncan & David W. Hall, The Genesis Debate, pg. 52 (2001); see also, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 31 (2004)] As argued by E.J. Young, “in an area so filled with mystery and about which we know so little, who can dare to assert that Moses is in error in declaring that light was created before the sun? Can one prove that the presence of light demands a light-bearer? What about the lightening flash? May there not have been rays of original light? We do not know; what can be said with assurance is that at this point Genesis makes no statement that scientists can disprove.” [E.J. Young, Studies in Genesis One, pg. 88 (1964)] As espoused by Joseph Pipa, Day 1 only describes the creation of the physical phenomenon of light (electromagnetic energy) and there is no reason why electromagnetic energy could not exist apart from the sun. Further, no function is assigned to the light created on Day 1. Day 4 relates a progression, namely, the creation of heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars), the function of which is stated as governing the light and darkness and to mark seasons, days and years. From Day 4 on, the division of light and darkness which was first accomplished on Day 1 was to be governed by the heavenly bodies. Consequently, the light bearers created on Day 4 were made for the purpose of dividing between already existing light and darkness. [Joseph Pipa, “From Chaos to Cosmos: A Critique of the Framework Hypothesis”, pg. 11 (1998) citing to Leupold, Exposition of Genesis, vol. 1, pg. 52 (1970) and E.J. Young, Studies in Genesis One, pgs. 96-97 (1964)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Text Does Not Say God Provided A Light Source Other than the Sun on Days 1-3: Although God can do anything and could have provided a light source other than the sun on Days 1-3, there is nothing in the Genesis creation account to suggest God chose to do it that way. Consequently, YECs resort to mere speculation by hypothesizing an alternate light source was in operation on Days 1-3. [See, Lee Irons, “The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary”, pg. 3 (2000)]
➤ OEC Reply — An Appeal to a Non-Solar Source of Light on Days 1-3 Abandons the “Plain Meaning” Interpretation of the Text which YECs Say they are Committed To: As contended by Lee Irons, although YECs claim to hold to a “plain meaning” interpretation of the word “day”, in order to explain how a 24-hour day could exist before the sun was created on Day 4, they convolute the plain meaning of the text and appeal to the existence of an unknown and undisclosed light source. If Genesis 1 is to be interpreted “literally” and according to its “plain meaning” as espoused by YECs, then “[a]rguably, the use of the terms ‘day’, ‘evening’ and ‘morning,’ which presuppose ordinary solar processes, dictate that the first three day are in fact solar days.” [Lee Irons, “The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary” (2000)]
➤ OEC Reply – Genesis 2:5 Indicates God Used Ordinary Providence to Sustain His Creation: As queried by Mark Futato (a proponent of the Literary Framework View), “Why does Gen. 2:5 bother to tell us that certain kinds of vegetation were absent ‘for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth?’” Literary Framework theorists maintain this statement reveals God chose to invoke ordinary providence to preserve and sustain His creation. Genesis 2:5 says vegetation did not yet exist for two natural reasons: 1) Because rain was needed for plants to survive and God had not yet initiated the rain cycle and 2) Because man had not yet been created and, therefore, no men were available to compensate for the lack of rainfall by constructing irrigation systems. [See, Mark Futato, “Because it Had Rained: A Study of Gen. 2:5-7 with Implications for Gen. 2:4-5 and Gen. 1:1-2:3″, pg. 5 (1998)] As stated by Lee Irons, the natural explanations provided in Genesis 2:5 establish that “God did not rely on supernatural means to preserve and sustain His creatures once they were created.” [Lee Irons, “The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary” pg. 3 (2000)] Consequently, there is no reasonable basis for the YEC hypothesis that God chose to employ an alternate light source on Days 1-3.
❖ YEC Sur-Rebuttal – God Could Have Supernaturally Held Everything In Place From Day 1 – 3: The fact God supernaturally held things in place until all the necessary elements for ordinary providence to take over had been put in place creates is no problem for the YEC view. [Joseph Pipa, “From Chaos to Cosmos: A Critique of the Framework Hypothesis”, pg. 12 (1998)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Suggestion that God Created Earth on Day 1 but Didn’t Create the Stars Until Day 4 Conflicts with Job 38:4-7: The existence of earth on Day 1 (before the creation of the sun, moon and stars on Day 4), as posited under the YEC View, would mean Earth was brought into existence as a solitary sphere, not as part of a cosmological process, and would have been suspended in a spatial void on Days 1-3. In such a case, the vast universe which presently exists was narrated on Day 4 (creation of the sun, moon and stars) and would, therefore, be the same approximate age or younger than the earth. [Meredith Kline, “Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony” (1996)] As argued by Mark Futato, creation of Earth before the stars in the universe is in conflict with Job 38:4-7 which says the stars were singing (and, therefore, were already in existence) when God laid Earth’s foundation. [Mark Futato, “Because it Had Rained: A Study of Gen. 2:5-7 with Implications for Gen. 2:4-5 and Gen. 1:1-2:3″, pg. 16 (1998)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — Creating the Sun and Moon on Day 4 Would have Proven God’s Supremacy to Pagans Who Worshiped Heavenly Bodies: As suggested by J. Ligon Duncan and David W. Hall, those who point out the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day miss “Moses’ brilliant and ironic polemic against those who worshiped various astral bodies. The sun, moon, and stars were gods to many, but Moses’ God is so independent of creation that He wanted to wait to create the heavenly luminaries until the halfway point in His work of creation. Hence, not only are the heavenly bodies products of God’s creative dominion, but they are – as vast and awesome as they may be – not even the focal point of the account….” [J. Ligon Duncan & David W. Hall, The Genesis Debate, pg. 52 (2001)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Focal Point of God’s Creation was Man on Day 6, Not the Sun: OECs, many of whom maintain God created the sun in Genesis 1:1 when God brought the entire physical universe into existence (including all the stars), assert the focal point of God’s creation was His creation of man on Day 6, not the sun. [Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question, pgs. 18, 47 (2001)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Existence of “Days” Before Creation of the Sun Signals a Topical Ordering of Events: The existence of Days 1-3 in the text before the sun was created on Day 4 is an obvious inconsistency which is a signal to the reader that the creation account was not written in a sequential order but in a topical order. [Mark Ross, “The Framework Hypothesis: An Interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2:3″, Did God Create in Six Days?, pg. 120 (1999)]
Genesis 1:11-12 reports God created seed-bearing plants and trees on Day 3. However, without light and heat from the sun, any vegetation on the planet would have quickly frozen and died. As an example of how cold it can get without heat from the sun, the side of the moon not getting direct heat from the sun gets well below -150 ̊ (F). Accordingly, many OECs ask how any vegetation created on Day 3 could have survived even a few hours in such a hostile environment?
❖ YEC Rebuttal — God Could Have Provided a Heat Source Other than the Sun on Days 1-3: Before creating the sun on Day 4, God could have employed non-solar sources of heat to keep vegetation on the planet warm enough to survive until Day 4 when the sun was created. [See, J. Ligon Duncan & David W. Hall, The Genesis Debate, pg. 52 (2001); see also, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 31 (2004)]
➤ OEC Reply — The Text Does Not Say God Provided a Heat Source Other than the Sun on Days 1-3: Although God can do anything and could have provided a heat source other than the sun on Days 1-3, nothing in the Genesis creation account suggests He chose to do it that way. Consequently, as with the hypothesis of an alternate light source, YECs resort to mere speculation in hypothesizing the existence of alternate heat source on Days 1-3. [See, Lee Irons, “The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary”, pg. 3 (2000)]
As argued by Day-Age Creationist and astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, “for a stable, hospitable Earth, many specific solar characteristics, especially the Sun’s gravity, must be operational. In the absence of the Sun, Earth’s orbital path, rotation, atmosphere, oceans, continents, and water cycle would suffer catastrophic consequences” (more>>) The “moon is also critical for life” because it “prevents destructive orbital resonances [and] stabilizes the tilt of Earth’s rotation axis….” (more>>) [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 77-78 (2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal – God Could Have Stabilized Earth Without the Sun, Moon or Stars on Days 1-3: Just as God could have employed non-solar sources of light and heat before creating the sun, so too God could have stabilized Earth on Days 1-3. [See, J. Ligon Duncan & David W. Hall, The Genesis Debate, pg. 52 (2001); see also, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 31 (2004)]
➤ OEC Reply – The Text Does Not Say God Provided a Source to Stabilize the Earth without the Sun, Moon or Stars on Days 1-3: Although God can do anything and could have stabilized the earth without the gravity provided by the sun, moon or stars on Days 1-3, there is nothing in the Genesis creation account to suggest He chose to do so.
➤ OEC Objection No. 4: The Immense Size of the Expanding Universe is Proof of an Old Age of the Universe/Earth
Astronomers estimate the Milky Way galaxy contains hundreds of billion stars and the universe contains an estimated 100 billion galaxies. The number of stars in the universe total approximately 1023 which, as astronomer Hugh Ross explains, “approximates the sum of the grains of sand on the [Earth’s] seashores, as the Bible metaphorically suggests” in Genesis 22:17, Jeremiah 33:22 and Hebrews 11:12. As stated by Ross, astronomers have established beyond reasonable doubt that the universe must be very old because the light they observe in the universe is light that has traveled for very, very long periods of time. For example, our galaxy has a diameter of 120,000 light years and contains approximately 200 billion stars. Since astronomers are observing light from stars in our galaxy that are 120,000 light years away, the minimum age of the Milky Way galaxy must be 120,000 years. The universe could be much older (e.g., billions of years old) but it cannot possibly be any younger. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 90 (2004)] [Note: Some YECs concede “creationists have a problem with starlight and the size of the universe”: “It takes millions of years for light to travel from certain parts of our galaxy to earth. If the cosmos is only a few thousand years old, then such light could not yet have reached us. Yet such light is seen every night on earth.” [Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pgs. 51-52 (1999)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — Astronomers are Wrong About the Distances: Measurements made by astronomers of faraway stars are unreliable and, therefore, do not prove the universe is millions or billions of years old.
➤ OEC Reply – Several Different Measurements Prove the Faraway Distances of Galaxies: Both direct and indirect measurements have been made of faraway objects (e.g., galaxies and quasars) and those measurements establish the objects are millions/billions of light years away:
Triangulation Distance Measuring: As explained by astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, triangulation distance-measuring methods employed by astronomers use very familiar plane geometry. If the length of the base of a triangle is known and the angles of both sides are known, then the distance to the triangle’s vertex can be accurately measured. To calculate faraway objects in the universe, astronomers use the diameter of the earth’s orbit or the orbit of another star as the base of the triangle. Direct triangulation measurements made to the following four galaxies reveal the following distances: 1) The Large Magellanic Cloud is 160,000 light years away, 2) NGC 4258 is 23.5 million light years away, 3) NGC 1637 is 24.6 million light years and 4) M100 is 54 million light years away. Triangular measurements made of Quasar 3C279 provided a minimum distance of 5.9 billion light years. Indirect distance measurements have also been made with similar results and potential uncertainties of the measurements are under 10%. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 162 (2004); see also, Dave Rogstad, Connections, “Angling for Better Measurements”(2008)]
A Region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (more >>)
Gravitational Lens Measurements: In general relativity, the presence of matter (e.g., a star, a galaxy, etc.) can curve space-time and thereby deflect the path a ray of light takes as it proceeds from a distant light source to Earth. Since the process is analogous to that which occurs when light is deflected by lenses in a pair of eyeglasses, the process is referred to as gravitational lensing. Astronomers have used measurements obtained through gravitational lensing to measure the expansion rate of the universe. The latest analysis based on gravitational lens measurements demonstrates a cosmic expansion rate of 71 kilometers per megaparsec (3.26 million light years) which translates into a creation date of about 13.7 billion years ago. [See, Hugh Ross, Connections, “Gravitational Lens Test for Creation”, Quarter 4, 2008]
WMAP Measurements: The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Study has also provided a creation date for the universe of about 13.73 billion years. [See, Hugh Ross, Connections, “Gravitational Lens Test for Creation”, Quarter 4, 2008 citing to E. Komatsu et.al., “Five-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Prove (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Interpretations”, Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (2008)]
OECs maintain the different kinds of measurements that have been employed to measure the distance of objects in the universe converge to provide overwhelming evidence that the universe is very big and very old.
❖ YEC Rebuttal — The Universe only Appears to be Large: Some YECs propose the universe only appears to be large but, in reality, it is relatively small so that it only takes a few thousand years for light to cross the universe.
➤ OEC Reply – Gravity Won’t Work in a Small Universe: The universe cannot be small because if it was, the very dim stars and galaxies seen through telescopes would be too small for gravity to even hold the stars together. [See, Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg.109 (1999)]
➤ OEC Reply – It is Impossible for All the Stars in the Universe to be Compacted in an Area Within 6,000 Light Years Without Devastating Effects: If all the stars in the universe are hovering in an area around 6,000 light years away, we would see a vast halo of crowded stars crashing into each other due to gravitational attraction. Such a pattern of star collisions would cause huge radiation bursts which would have devastating effects on Earth (more>>). [See, David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 26-27 (2006)] Additionally, if all the stars are relatively close by, the faintness of the light they give off would require they be “much tinier than the minimum size necessary for stars to burn.” On the other hand, if those stars are large enough to burn, then the “night” sky would be bright as day. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 162 (2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — The Speed of Light was Much Faster in the Past: Light presently travels at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. YECs, Barry Setterfield and Trevor Norman, looked at the measurements scientists have reported for the speed of light and noted slight differences in the data reported. Based on the increase noted, Setterfield and Norman proposed the speed of light was much faster shortly after creation than it is today. [See, Trevor Norman & Barry Setterfield, “The Atomic Constants, Light and Time” (1987)] If the speed of light is slowing down, then scientists have miscalculated the size of the universe because the light emanating from the distant objects they are measuring arrived here much faster than it would at the current speed of light.
➤ OEC Reply – The Speed of Light Measurements Relied on by YECs do Not Prove the Speed of Light is Decreasing: Instead of demonstrating an decrease in the speed of light, the data reflected a refinement in the ability to accurately measure the speed of light. No actual change in the velocity of light has ever been documented. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 163-164 (2004)]
➤ OEC Reply – Earth Could Not Exist If the Speed of Light Was Too Fast: If the speed of light was hundreds to thousands of times faster at the time of creation than it is today, then in Einsteins’ formula for the equivalence of mass and energy (E=mc2), the term c2 (i.e., the speed of light times itself) would have been tens of thousands to millions of times greater. In such a case, the sun, in converting a little of its mass to energy, would have burned up everything living on earth. Alternatively, if we make E (energy) constant, then the masses would have been so small that earth’s gravity would not have been able to hold on to its atmosphere or its people. [Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, pg.109 (1999); see also, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 165 (2004)]
➤ OEC Reply – Even a Slight Change in the Speed of Light Would Have Had Catastrophic Effects: The speed of light does not operate independently of other physical effects. One cannot propose even a slight change in the speed of light “without also proposing changes in everything from the structure of atoms to the color of the sun….” In fact, “one cannot change the values of any of the constants of nature by more than a fraction of a percent without making life as we know it impossible.” In fact, because the constants in nature have very specific values that cannot be changed even the slightest bit without devastating effects, Christian apologist argue the universe must have been designed by an intelligent designer (more>>) [David Snoke, A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, pgs. 28-29 (2006); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 90-91, 144, 163-166 (2004)]
➤ OEC Reply – Certain Necessary Metabolic Reactions Couldn’t Have Taken Place in Adam’s Body if the Speed of Light Was Different in Adam’s Day: The velocity of light must be very finely tuned in order for certain protein metabolic reactions to take place in the human body. If the velocity of light had been any different for Adam than it is for us, the proteins in Adam’s body would not have functioned and Adam would have died. Since Adam didn’t die until he was 930 years old (Genesis 5:5), the speed of light must have operated within the same fine-tuned parameters when Adam was alive as it as it does today. [Hugh Ross, “Is There Any Credibility to Barry Setterfield’s Idea that the Speed of Light is Slowing Down?” (8/31/04]
➤ OEC Reply – Jeremiah 33:2 Indicates the Physical Laws that Govern the Universe are Fixed: Hugh Ross states God certainly had the power to build the universe at a more rapid rate than the velocity of light but the physical evidence indicates God did not chose to do so. Additionally, if God had made the velocity of light significantly faster 6,000 years ago (when YECs assert God created the universe) than it is today, God would not have hidden that fact from mankind. Nevertheless, astronomers are presently observing that light emanating from stars 6,000 or more light years away is traveling at the same speed that light travels today. Moreover, scientists now know the speed of light “must remain constant for physical life to exist.” From a biblical perspective, Ross notes Jeremiah 33:2 makes reference to “fixed laws of heaven and earth” which Ross believes is consistent with God employing fixed laws of physics to govern the operation of the universe. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 90-91, 144, 163-166 (2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — Distant Clocks Run at Faster Rates: In 1994, YEC, Russell Humphreys (an applied physicist) postulated the universe was a collapsing black hole that became an expanding white hole in which all the energy of the universe was escaping through quantum tunneling. Relying on Stephen Hawking’s discussions of gravitational time dilation, Humphreys inferred that if Earth was located at the center of the universe where there is a limited amount of space, then clocks on Earth would run very slowly as compared to clocks located in distant parts of the universe. If that is true, then an observer on Earth would see billions of years elapsing on distant clocks while only 144 hours (six creation days) would have actually elapsed on Earth. [See, Russell Humphreys, Starlight and Time (1994)]
➤ OEC Reply – Humphreys’ Gravitational Time Dilation is Implausible: Humphreys’ model has failed several scientific tests. For example, experts in general relativity have pointed out Humphrey’s model does “not yield the required gravitational time dilation” and, when his mathematical errors were corrected, “his model becomes a big bang model consistent with a cosmic creation dated billions of years ago.” Humphreys’ model also violates almost every established law of physics. Another problem is that Humphreys’ model conflicts with the red shift measurements astronomers have repeated at various intervals which have failed to reveal any differences. Accordingly, Humphreys’ proposed hyper accelerated cosmic expansion is implausible. According to Hugh Ross, John Harnett (a YEC physicist) has acknowledged Humphrey’s gravitational time dilation model is contradicted by observations made of distant astronomical clocks. [See, Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 167(2004); Samuel Conner & Hugh Ross, “The Unraveling of Starlight and Time” (1999)] Likewise, YEC, Jonathan Sarfati, admits time dilation models have problems in the details. [See, Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, pg. 190 (2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal — Earth-Based Clocks Ran Ten Trillion Times Slower on Creation Days 1-3: John Hartnett (a YEC physicist), has proposed a revision of Humphrey’s model. Hartnett has proposed that on Days 1-3, Earth clocks ran ten trillion times slower than astronomical clocks. On Day 4, the earth-based clocks sped up to the same rate as the astronomical clocks. [See, John Hartnett, “A New Cosmology: Solution to the Starlight Travel Time Problem,” TJ: The In-Depth Journal of Creation 17, no. 2, pgs. 98-102 (2003)]
➤ OEC Reply – Hartnett’s Revision of Humphrey’s Model is Implausible: Astrophysicist, Hugh Ross, argues a speeding up of Earth clocks relative to astronomical clocks would have created catastrophic effects because it would have caused a tremendous increase in the metabolic rates in plants as well as the growth of continental land masses resulting in the obliteration of all life. Ross further notes such catastrophic effects would have certainly left evidence in the geologic record, yet, none has been found. As maintained by Ross, the operation of Newtonian mechanics must be exquisitely fine-tuned for physical life to be possible any where in the universe and “demands that clocks everywhere and for all time in the universe and on Earth run at the same rate” except for some minor adjustments to account for relativistic velocity effects. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 169-172(2004)]
❖ YEC Rebuttal – The Universe Only Has an Appearance of Being Billions of Years Old: In 1857, Phillip Gosse (a British biologist and preacher) proposed an “appearance of age” explanation as the reason why the earth appeared to be old. Gosse acknowledged the data collected by scientists appeared to establish an old age for the Earth but argued God had created the earth with an appearance of age (e.g., trees with annual rings for years that never really occurred, etc.) [See, Phillip Gosse, Omphalos: An Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot, pgs. 290-297, 335 (1857)] Gary North, a more contemporary proponent of the appearance of age argument, proposes the seeming old age of the universe is an illusion “because either the constancy of the speed of light is an illusion or else the physical events we hypothesize to explain visible changes in light or radiation are false inferences.” [See, Gary K. North, The Dominion Covenant: Genesis, pgs. 254-255 (1987)] According to the appearance of age argument, the universe only appears to be old because God created a full-grown universe which included light from distant stars already in transit. Because God created a full-grown universe, things in nature have an appearance of old age even though they really only came into existence approximately 6,000-12,000 years ago. Since the light was created in transit, it only appears to have been in existence for billions of years, even though it is really only thousands of years old. As stated by Dennis Peterson, a YEC proponent, if God could create sources of light, He could certainly create light beams to instantly appear on Earth. [Dennis Peterson, Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, pg. 23 (1986)]
➤ OEC Reply – God is Righteous; He is Not a Deceiver or Untrustworthy Historian: Hugh Ross cites to several passages in the Bible which he maintains teach “an honest investigation of nature leads to discovery of truths, including truths about God’s otherwise invisible character qualities.” (See, Rom. 1:20, Job 9:1-35, 35:11, 36:2-42:3, Ps. 19:1-6, 50:6, 65:6-13, 89:5, 97:6, 98:2-3; 104:1-32; 119:64; Habakkuk 3:3-4) In Ross’ view, if God created the universe with an appearance of age then most of cosmic history is apparent, not real, which implies God is a deceiver and an untrustworthy historian, contrary to the character of God revealed in the Bible (see Num. 23:19, Ps. 119:160, Is. 45:19, John 8:31-32, 10:35, Titus 1:2, Heb 6:18, 11:6 and 1 John 5:6). As further argued by Ross, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:23 and Psalm 19:1-4 make it clear God has revealed truth in His creation. In fact, according to Romans 1:20, because God’s “invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature” have been clearly seen and understood from His creation, no man will have an excuse for their unbelief. As Ross queries, “[h]ow could we be held accountable by God for our response to a distorted message?” [Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pg. 55 (1994); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 85-87 (2004)]
❖ YEC Sur-Rebuttal — Nature Only Reveals Limited Information About God: YECs, such as Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor, maintain that although studying nature can provide some limited and general information about God (e.g., His existence, glory and power), which may draw men’s thoughts to a creator, the only way to really know God is through special revelation, not general revelation: “[G]eneral revelation serves only to condemn the sinner and to establish his guilt-worthiness before God (Rom. 1:20).” [Bruce A. Demarest, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “General Revelation”, pg. 945 (1984); see also, Mark Van Bebber & Paul Taylor, Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross, pgs. 31-36 (1996)]
➤ OEC Reply — An Appearance-of-Age Hypothesis Means No Historical Fact Can be Established: Taken to its logical conclusion, the appearance-of-age hypothesis means man cannot establish any historical fact because all of history could have been created a few hours ago by a Creator who created a false history and false memory.
Some refer to the problem of deceptive history as the “omphalos problem” (omphalos is Greek for naval) which is brought out by the question: “Did Adam have a naval?” If Adam did have a naval, it can be argued Adam’s body demonstrated a false history (i.e., a history that was not real) because he was not born of a woman.
Similarly, under the appearance-of-age hypothesis, when astronomers look at light that has traveled to Earth from a distant light source (e.g., a star, galaxy or quasar) they are seeing a stream of events which never really occurred; they are observing a “fictitious history.” And, because most of the universe is more than 6,000 – 10,000 light-years away, if the appearance of age hypothesis is correct, then most of the events revealed by light coming from space is fictional which means God has created a predominantly fictitious history. [See, Robert Newman, Three Views on Creation and Evolution, “Progressive Creationism,” pg.109 (1999); Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 40-41 (1994)]
“Taken to its logical conclusion, the appearance-of-age hypothesis implies we cannot establish the reality of our own or anyone’s past existence” because “[w]e could have been created just a few hours, or even moments ago, by a Creator who implanted scars, memories, family members, photographs, material possessions, liver spots, and hardening of the arteries to make us appear and feel older than we really are.” Accordingly, the “appearance of age” hypothesis requires a person to deny what is logically inferred or deduced from the realities of the physical universe. [Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pg. 36 (2004)] In Ross’ view, such an approach conflicts with the Bible’s exhortation to “objectively test” truth claims before believing them which sets the Bible apart from other holy books (see, I Thess. 5:21, Rom. 12:2 Deut. 18:21-22, Mal. 3:10, Matt. 7:15-20, Acts 17:11 and I John 4:1) [Hugh Ross, Creation as Science, pg. 220 (2006); Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, pgs. 63-64 (2004)] If God used such deception, we could never really know whether the Bible contains actual written testimonies of historical events or whether it merely records events that never really took place. [See, Hugh Ross, Creation and Time, pgs. 40-41 (1994)]
If the age of the earth and the universe is nothing more than illusory, no amount of scientific evidence could ever disprove the YEC view and science ceases to matter. [See,