Here is a summary of what we taught at the Credo House for “Coffee and Theology” this past Tuesday night. I hope you enjoy.

1. Young Earth Creationism (YEC)

The Skinny:

Belief that the universe was created miraculously by God approximately ten thousand years ago (or less).

Explanation:

YECs often insist that their view is the only way to understand and remain faithful to the integrity of the Scriptures. For them, options which integrate evolution or an old earth paradigm compromise the clear teachings of Scripture and even the essence of the Gospel message.

They will often argue (especially since the publication of  The Genesis Flood in 1960) that science is on their side using “catastropheism” or “Flood Geology.” They believe that world-wide biblical catastrophes sufficiently explain the fossil records and other geographic phenomena that might otherwise suggest evolution or an old earth.

They believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and global flood.

Relationship Between science and Scripture:

Scientific discovery always submits to Scripture in all matters. Science is interpreted in light of Scripture. YECs see the early chapters of Genesis, taken at face value, as an accurate and authoritative (even scientific) guide to the basic details of the origin of the universe. Science is of great value so long as it starts with the Bible.

Notable Adherents:

John Calvin, Martin Luther, Henry Morris, Ken Ham, John MacArthur, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Four in ten Americans believe in YEC.

2. Gap Theory Creationism

The Skinny:

Belief that the earth was created by God an indefinite number of years ago, while the creation of humanity happed ten thousand years ago or less.

Explanation:

The explanation for the old age of the universe can be found in a theoretical time gap that exists between the lines of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. God created the earth and the earth became formless and void. Therefore God instituted the new creation which begins in Genesis 1:2b.

Here is how it looks:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

—-Indefinite Time Gap—-

Genesis 1:2a And the earth was (i.e. became) formless and void.

This theory allows for an indefinite period of time for the earth to exist before the events laid out in the creation narrative. Gap theorists will differ as to what could have happened on the earth to make it become formless and void. Some will argue for the possibility of a creation which died out prior to humans. This could include dinosaurs and many other extinct species. While this was popularized by the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century, it was eventually replaced with Young Earth Creationism with the rise of “flood geology.”

They normally believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and global flood.

Relationship between science and Scripture:

Typically sees nature as a complementary guide from God which speaks authoritatively to issues about which the Scriptures are unclear or silent. Whatever source (Scripture or nature) is more clear is the authority in matters of origins. If both seem equally clear, yet seemingly conflicting, Scripture is the final source.

Notable Adherents:

Cyrus I. Scofield, Harry Rimmer, A. W. Pink, Donald Grey Barnhouse, Clarence Larkin

3. Time-Relative Creationism

The Skinny:

Belief that the universe could be both young and old, depending on your perspective.

Explanation:

Since time is not a constant (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), time at the beginning of creation could have moved much more slowly than it does today. From the way time is measured today, the succession of moments (events with a causal relationship of before/after) in the creation narrative equals that of six twenty-four hour periods, but relative to measurements at the time of creation, the events would have transpired much more slowly, allowing for billions of “years” to elapse.

This view, therefore, does not assume a one-to-one correspondence in measurements of time/space/matter phenomena between the time of creation and today or from God’s perspective to ours. They would argue that any presumption upon the radical events of the first “days” of creation is beyond what science should attempt to speak about with any degree of dogmatism. In short, we can’t gauge, measure, or predict, much less be dogmatic about, the physics present at the creation event.

This view may or may not allow for an evolutionary view of creation. When they do, evolution would have happened very quickly from God’s perspective (almost instantaneously), but from the perspective of human science analysis, it happened very slowly.

They normally allow for a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and global flood.

Relationship between science and Scripture:

Typically sees nature as a complementary guide from God which speaks authoritatively to issues about which the Scriptures are unclear or silent. Whatever source (Scripture or nature) is more clear is the authority in matters of origins. If both seem equally clear, yet conflicting, Scripture is the final source.

Notable Adherents:

Seeing as how this view does not dogmatize anything but candid uncertainty, it may be broad enough to house all those who simply say, “Who knows?”

4. Old Earth Creationism (OEC)
(also Progressive Creationists, Day-Age Creationists, and, sometimes, Framework Hypothesis)

The Skinny:

Belief that the universe was created by God somewhere around 15 billion years ago, while the creation of humanity occurred just thousands of years ago.

Explanation:

The old age of the universe can be reconciled with Scripture by understanding the days of Genesis 1 not as literal 24-hour periods, but as periods of time of indefinite length. The word “day,” according to OECs, would be understood the same as in Gen. 2:4 “. . . in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

While this view understands the universe is billions of years old, proponents believe that man was created a short time ago. Therefore, they do not believe in evolution.

Most believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and global flood.

Relationship between science and Scripture:

Typically sees nature as a complementary guide from God which speaks authoritatively to issues about which the Scriptures are unclear or silent. Whatever source (Scripture or nature) is more clear is the authority in matters of origins. If both seem equally clear, yet conflicting, Scripture is the final source.

Some Notable Adherents:

Hugh Ross, Francis Schaeffer, Norman Geisler, and possibly St. Augustine

5. Deistic Evolution* (DE; often just “Theistic Evolution”):

The Skinny:

Belief, as Darwinian Evolutionists, that God created the universe over billions of years, using naturalistic evolutionary processes to create humanity without intervention.

Explanation:

I call this “deistic evolution” due to the “hands-off” approach God takes to the development of man in the evolutionary process. Darwinian evolution, through the process of natural selection, is accepted. While there is across-the-board agreement that God did not/does not intervene in the process of evolution, DEers are divided as to whether God directly caused the first life to begin or whether he let life come into being naturalistically (abiogenisis).

Concerning Adam and Eve, the views are diverse and, often, complex. Some believe that the first few chapters of Genesis are a creation myth that served as a polemic against other gods and should not be taken literally. Adam and Eve, in this case, would simply be literary, symbolic figures representing the fall of humanity and the ensuing curse. Others believe that toward the end of the evolutionary process, God, through an act of special creation, created and elected Adam and Eve as the representative heads of the human race. Others believe that God did not use special creation, but appointed already existing humans as representatives for humanity, calling them Adam and Eve.

They normally do not believe in a snake talking and usually believe that the flood was local.

Relationship Between Science and Scripture:

DEers employ a type of science known as “methodological naturalism,” believing that the assumption of God should never be invoked at any point to explain naturalistic phenomena. Therefore, no matter how much science may lack understanding as to the “gaps” in our knowledge about the process of evolution, supernatural intervention should never be seen as an option; otherwise, the data is tainted with a “god-of-the-gaps” approach. This is to be distinguished from “philosophical naturalism,” which assumes the complete absence of God in its very philosophy, not just method of inquiry. This view places a higher authority on matter’s origins in their interpretation of nature through science than through Scripture seeing as how, according to them, Scripture does not speak clearly on these issues.

Notable Adherents:

The majority of Christian scientists, B.B. Warfield, C.S. Lewis, Pete Enns, Catholic Church (open to the theory, yet not dogmatized officially)

*Please note, I have never heard this referred to as “deistic evolution” so the designation may be original here. Similarly one should not confuse this with theological deism which believes that God does not (indeed, can not) intervene in the affairs of humans at all.

6. Intelligent Design (ID)

The Skinny:

Belief that science itself, without reference to the Bible or any other religious book, points to the reality of an intelligent designer.

Explanation:

It is difficult to classify ID as a a distinct option among these listed. In fact, IDers can fit into any one of these groups except deistic evolutionists. For example, many IDers are theistic evolutionists, but they don’t believe that God took a “hands-off” approach in the process of evolution (otherwise, they would be deistic evolutionists).

It could look like this:

They argue that Darwinian evolution is insufficient to account for the “irreducible complexity” found in so much of creation. Science itself, according to IDers, needs an intelligent explanation to account for phenomena of the universe. God must have had his intervening hand in the process. Therefore, methodological naturalism is denied.

However, IDers are not arguing for a specific model of creation. They simply argue that there is sufficient reason to believe that science points to the hand of a designer.

Relationship between science and Scripture:

In theory, IDers are not about invoking any religious tradition into their agenda. Therefore, they distance their method of inquiry from any religious text.

Notable Adherents:

Michael Behe, William Dembski, Phillip Johnson, Stephen C. Meyer

A word of caution:

I believe that one can be a legitimate Christian and hold to any one of these views. While I lean in the direction of some sort of Time-Relative creation, I only do this because my main contention is that it is very unwise to be dogmatic. Though I used to be favorable to it, I now reject methodological naturalism, believing it leads to preset conclusions that end up being awkward, unnecessary, and very unscientific. Therefore, though I rejected it at one time, I have come to accept ID as a responsible approach to these matters. I have become very open, over the years, to theistic/deistic evolution, yet, at the same time, less and less inclined to accept it.

In the end, I believe that the best anyone can do is lean in one direction or another. Being overly dogmatic about these issues expresses, in my opinion, more ignorance than knowledge. Each position has many apparent difficulties and many virtues.

While I believe this is an issue we should continue to discuss with excitement and hope, this is not an issue, in my opinion, that should fracture Christian fellowship.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    37 replies to "The Creation Debate in a Nutshell"

    • Dante

      Good summary, though I’d like to clarify a bit on the Evolutionist view: as N.T. Wright said, it is wrong for Christians to separate the natural from God’s divine providence, such that any process which we might term “natural” would still be God’s direct actions, since “In him we live and move and have our being,” so even for the Theistic Evolutionist, evolution is by no means a deistic process.
      With that said, I can safely include N.T. Wright and John Stott as notable proponents of TE; I’ve not heard J.I. Packer stating his own view, but he has endorsed a couple of pro-evolutionist anti-ID works.
      While John Calvin may have held to a young earth view, I’m not sure he can be considered a “creationist” since, as B.B. Warfield once commented, his view that, apart from the heavens and the earth created ex nihilo, all things were brought about by secondary causes can be considered “pure evolutionism”. Thus, we might have the first and only case of YEE (Young Earth Evolutionist).

    • Jared B. Tremper

      Excellent post! This is a helpful summary, and a useful recalibration vis-a-vis dogmatism and Christian unity.

      I recently wrote a paper for our church elders on trends in the origins debate. In that paper, I attempted to show that some evangelicals who hold the Bible to be true and to be God’s Word are approaching the origins debate from an entirely different vantage point, namely from a hermeneutical position and the engagement ancient genre.

      Quoting from my paper: “evangelical scholars like Dr. Walton (Wheaton College) proposes a refined hermeneutic that takes into account ancient Near East (ANE) literary and communication forms. He argues that our contemporary world unwittingly imports modern understandings into an ancient text. Because of this, Walton suggests that we should adjust our methods to more closely align with the ancient Israelite worldview—to read the text as if we are of that world (The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate 2009).”

      I would be curious to know if you have seen this trend verifying in your circles or spheres of influence.

      Well done! May God continue to bless your ministry.

      Jared

    • Dear Michael,
      Thank you for an excellent summery of the different theories.
      When my wife and I visited our children in New Zealand some two years ago, God opened my eyes to some amazing ways the fauna and flora of those islands confirm many facts of Genesis 1-3. I blogged about it at: http://bibledifferences.net/2012/09/25/62-new-zealand-and-genesis-1-3/
      God bless,
      Herman.

    • Seth Fuller

      Please visit http://www.creation.com for excellent scientific study of this issue. It’s a great ministry.

    • Tiago

      “Belief, as Darwinian Evolutionists, that God created the universe over billions of years, using naturalistic evolutionary processes to create humanity without intervention.”

      This maybe a bit misleading, depending on how someone interprets “intervention”. We(well, at least I) usually believe that by his sovereign, everything is going as He planned, and God doesn’t need retcons(aka, special corrective interventions)

      Anyway, great article

    • Dave

      Great Job Michael!
      Hope we can come visit Credo House someday.
      Dave
      Montgomery, AL

      (will post this if I can get a CAPTCHA that I can actually read)

    • Michael

      If certain “big names” are going to be used, its always best to provide citations.

      Augustine was not an old-earther. This is a myth that gets brought out from time to time without any proof:
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v7/n1/augustine-days-of-creation

      Similar with Warfield on evolution:
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/b._b._warfield_on_creation_and_evolution

    • OddintheTruth

      OddintheTruth is currently doing a study on two views not mentioned above – those of John Sailhamer and John Walton.

      You can check it out here – http://www.oddinthetruth.com/genesis-1-1a-in-the-beginning/

    • Marc F

      Just for clarification in my own mind because it wasn’t put up there for YECs. But don’t YECs also take the position that although the earth can be billions of years in age, it is only 10k years old. For example, God created fruit producing trees, not a seedling, and created Adam as a man, not as a baby. Essentially, God could create something brand new that is already “aged.”

    • Alex

      Just a clarification: Hugh Ross believes in a local flood.

    • C J Barton

      As far as I know, the Bible doesn’t simply tell us, “At that time the earth was X,XXX year old . . .”.
      We can add up genealogies, etc, using human reason to arrive at a conclusion, and logic is a pretty certain method for getting answers, as long as your assumptions are correct and complete. When we argue from silence, however, anything is possible.
      Did God make creatures (dinosaurs, maybe) eons before He made man? I don’t see any evidence in Genesis that God started out as a Zookeeper. He brought all the animals to Adam to name them, and that must have taken a while, too.
      Lastly, It might be suggested that the inanimate universe (stars, planets, etc.) were formed and set in the heavens during an extended period of time, yet the Bible tells us that all was made in six literal days; I tend to trust more heavily on such testimony. Science is only as good as the evidence available to it.

    • Nate

      “In the end, I believe that the best anyone can do is lean in one direction or another. Being overly dogmatic about these issues expresses, in my opinion, more ignorance than knowledge. Each position has many apparent difficulties and many virtues.

      Hugh Ross and Ken Ham are pretty dogmatic. Their ministies are entirely based on their view of Creation being correct, and they make it their vocation trying to prove it. Would you say their ministries are ignorant because they don’t just “lean” one way, but dogmatically teach and promote their particular view? Or do those labels only apply to the laymen who would hold such views dearly?

      • C Michael Patton

        I would not say that Ross is overly dogmatic at all. But Ham is. I don’t agree with Ham’s approach or attitude, but I am not denying he can be used by God even with such.

    • Caleb

      It is kind of silly to list John Calvin and Martin Luther as adherents of YEC. They lived long before Darwin. Calvin also believed in geocentrism and had no idea of the germ theory of disease.

    • Daniel

      YEC’s like Ken Ham love to point to Augustine as not being an OEC. But it is done in a false dichotomy that suggests that Augustine was, therefor, YEC. It’s a bit more complex than that. While Augustine did believe in creation ex nihilo and did believe that the history of mankind was recent, the full story is a bit more complex. Augustine believed that while Adam and Eve were literal (YECs love that part), the “days” were not, for example. The Day-Age folks love that part. He also believed that creation unfolded from an initial creation point in what could be considered natural means. The DE/TE’s love that part. As with a lot of deep thinkers, he wrestled with this topic and, depending on the chosen quote, can be seen as leaning in different directions as he explored the tensions that exist in this topic. It’s safe to say that his view evolved over time. In his “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”, he had this to say, “In this work there are more questions raised than answers found, and of the answers found not many have been established for certain. Those that are not certain have been proposed for further study.” The fact that *HE* wasn’t dogmatic and absolutely sure about every single thing that the Bible “clearly” says (contrary to how the creation evangelists today are) makes it difficult to dogmatically pin him down to a particular category on this.

    • StuartB

      CJ, you added a word below:

      “Lastly, It might be suggested that the inanimate universe (stars, planets, etc.) were formed and set in the heavens during an extended period of time, yet the Bible tells us that all was made in six literal days; I tend to trust more heavily on such testimony. Science is only as good as the evidence available to it.”

      I tend to trust what the Bible actually says.

    • C J Barton

      There apparently is no admonition in Old or New Testament that requires our agreement about the age of the earth. It is not specifically mentioned as an important issue.
      What we know, however, is that it is a point of attack by the secular and atheistic community to erode confidence in the Bible. As R. Dawkins says, he doesn’t know how it happened, but he doesn’t believe it was God; maybe aliens did it. As such, it is now an issue that we must answer, in defense of the Truth – but can we ever agree what that Truth is in the first place?

    • Caleb

      CJ Barton,

      So this is mostly about politics for you then?

    • Michael Snow

      The YEC position: “options which integrate . . . an old earth paradigm compromise the clear teachings of Scripture . . .”

      The YEC position compromises the clear teaching of the first two verses of Genesis. You list Calvin as an adherent, but see quote of him on science at the end of this essay [and also of Augustine in the links there]. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/creation-young-earth-ham-nye-genesis-one/

    • Michael Snow

      Your position number 2 , ‘Gap Theory’ leads to confusion because the classic ‘Gap Theory’ posited the fall of Satan as the cause of the condition of the earth in v. 2. VV. 1&2 if accepted as is, leave no room for claiming that the beginning can be dated by the Bible. See comments in article linked above on Gap Theory.

    • C J Barton

      Hey, Caleb:
      No, I have nothing to do with politics, really. Age of the earth is an elective pursuit for science or geology enthusiasts, and the answers should correspond to the Biblical testimonies, if understood correctly. But this issue is now made into a taunt because of the shifting ground and other deceptive practices in our secular scientific community, our education system, etc. So I believe we are commissioned to prepare a defense of the Bible in light of these things.

    • Dante

      So, is there no room for natural revelation in the YEC paradigm?

    • Micael Gustavsson

      Maybe you should add Greg Boyds view “evolution as spiritual warfare”. According to this view, the evolutionary process was influenced by Satan, althought God (as in human history) brought good out of evil. Without Satan it would have been peaceful, and there would not have been any carnivores.

    • C J Barton

      Similar theories are based on extra-Biblical literature (e.g., Book of Enoch), in which fallen angels and their hybrid offspring began to teach mixing of breeds, which some speculate led to purely carnivorous beasts such as T. Rex.
      In other words, not intended by nature.

    • Ivar

      I guess I would fit into the “deistic evolution” category, but I would reject the title. A deistic god wouldn’t favour humans over space dust, and so the evolution of humans would be entirely happenstance. But any Christian would believe that God has purposefully created us in love.

      I also would reject the first chapters of Genesis en toto, and regard them as little more than any other ancient myth. They teach that we are special in God’s creation, but contain little truth beyond that. Allegorising the narrative, as many tend to do, is artificial and not truthful to the text.
      I didn’t see this being presented as a view in the description of theistic evolutionists, so I wonder if I’m alone in thinking along these lines.

    • Micael Gustavsson

      Well, anyway I think i should be part if the taxanomy, since it is an option different han the others. One chritisism of theistic evolution is after all “Whyred would a good God use such a painful process”.

    • Jeff Ayers

      Michael,

      Are you aware of anyone/ any groups that hold to the following:

      In the beginning (could be billions, trillions of years) God created the heaven and the earth.

      The heaven was created populated with all the heavenly beings (angels, seraphim, cherubim, ezekiel and revelation entities etc.)

      The earth was without form and void for those billions of years.

      6,000 to 10,000 years ago (based on genealogies) God created (in reality formed, shaped, enhanced and added to) the earth, atmosphere and universe (not the 3rd heaven).

      And he also directly created man, women and creatures 6K +/- .

      How would this theory fit with the ones above?

      It is NOT the gap theory for I do not believe in pre-Adamic beings of ANY type. Except those HEAVENLY beings.

      Any EARTHLY beings are only 6K old.

      Any thoughts on this?

      Jeff

    • Jon Garber

      “Essentially, God could create something brand new that is already ‘aged.'”

      I would say rather that God created things mature. He created Adam as an adult male who, had we met him a minute after his creation, might have pegged him as 25-30 years old (or 65-500 years old, based on pre-Flood lifespans.

      A good NT example is the water turned to wine. The governor of the feast would probably have estimated the total age of the wine, from growing, harvesting, and pressing the grapes, fermenting, and aging, as a matter of years, when in reality it was seconds or minutes old.

      God created for 6 days, and, with the exception of miracles here and there, ceased his creative work and rested on Day 7. Today he upholds his creation in a regular and orderly way that the theologian calls Providence, and the scientist, scientific laws. This is why it is dangerous to extrapolate back into Creation Week and assume that the time-consuming processes that we see in operation today are the same that were in operation then. I have no problem accepting that an Omnipotent God created everything in 6 days just as he said.

    • Duane

      Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859.
      Interestingly those cited in support of the various long age theories all live during or after that publication date – (with the exception of Augustine and commenter Daniel above noted that Augustine did not necessarily believe in long ages).
      That clearly suggests that the only reason anyone wants to read long ages into the Bible account is to support scientific theories which require long ages like Darwinian Evolution and the Big Bang. Apart from those theories, any natural reading of the Biblical creation text leaves the clear impression of a 6 day creation event.

      If you set aside the age of the earth, and just look at the sequence of events, the Big Bang sequence does not square with the Biblical account – the Bible says the earth was created before the sun; the Big Bang requires at least two generations of stars to be formed before the first planet forms.

      With regard to Darwinian Evolution, it does not square with the Biblical text either – it requires millions of years of death and dying before that which caused death – sin – came into the world.

      So apart from the age of the earth (or universe) none of today’s scientific theories square with what the Bible gives as God’s eye witness account of the creation.

      The question becomes who are you going to believe? The one who said he created the heavens and the earth and left an account of it; or scientists, using known faulty dating techniques and logic, and incorrect presuppositions?

      It’s an easy choice for me. Christians were thought strange in the first century for a number of reasons – that has not changed. Seems to me Christians are more afraid of being called “ignorant” or “scientifically illiterate” by man than fearing God asking “why didn’t you believe what I wrote?” What a shame. I fear many will stand ashamed before God because of this.

      Time to end the in-house debate and take God at his word.
      http://rationalfaith

    • Daniel

      I find that applying motives to someone (as in “the only reason anyone wants to read long ages into the Bible account is to…”) is just a fallacious attempt to dismiss their point of view. If you look at the history of this topic, there is a long record of folks who took Genesis 1 different from the rigid literal reading that is so popular in some circles today.
      The same kind of fallacious “were you there” or “who are you going to believe” argument takes place when we equate our current understanding of the text with what it says and suggest that if you disagree with me, you are disagreeing with God. It’s a blatant appeal to authority.
      The truth is that if we make a bunch of assumptions about the genealogies (which one to use, what to do with the gaps, which numbering system to use, if they are intended to be symbolic or literal, etc), the BEST we can do is roughly date Adam. Anything prior to him brings its own set of assumptions. And when we listen to the popular creation ministries fill in all those assumptions for us, it is disingenuous for us to suggest that others trust man but our interpretation is NOT man’s. When we take that into account, all we can do is look at the evidence. And, as you admit, the young-earth model by the likes of Ken Ham doesn’t match the science.

    • Daniel,
      I absolutely agree with your caution to blatantly appeal to authority. There is no way one can take Genesis 1-3 absolutely directly. Each and every vision on how to understand those words, is an interpretation based on assumptions of what Gad really did and how we should interpret and understand what He let be written down. I can never claim that “my interpretation” is the only and correct interpretation of God’s Word.
      Yet is it not wonderful that God allows us to struggle with the Word ourselves, and at the same time study and evaluate the interpretation of others! If only we could learn to respect the findings of others and not blatantly promote our own interpretation as the “only” truth!
      God bless,
      Herman.

    • John mcdermott

      Anything but yec, is simply not Biblical. I hope creedo house understands this, if not, you might as well not do apologetics for any reason or you will get destroyed, I say this as a helpful understanding to them, thanks for listening have a great day

    • John

      In reading through some comments on Creation question and different (differing) positions, a question becomes apparent as we deal with hermeneutics (i.e., historical-grammatical). Where does the Bible give us a “starting point” that says or indicates “OK, time–hours, days, months, years–from this point is literal”? Also, does the historical-grammatical method work in the creation account?

    • John

      After reading some of the above comments, my question is this: is there some kind of “cut off” point in Genesis or in the Pentateuch that gives any indication that the time prior to that cut off is just “relative” and that thereafter, time is precise? How does that affect our hermeneutical approach, i.e., usually the historical-grammatical method? Can one say with any certainty, then, that time in a biblical passage is based on “normal” calendar years, months, days, hours? How does one say then when time becomes literal?

      • Dante

        I do think that the ancients weren’t as concerned about the preciseness of time as we are.

    • C J Barton

      Wasn’t a lot of the Pentateuch written by Moses? Some even speculate that It was dictated letter for letter because of the unique equidistant letter sequences embedded in It [Ref: Hidden Treasures in the Bible, Dr. Chuck Missler].
      My point is, the author had an overview and perspective of both the moderns and the ancients, so we can assume that there are no time-related ambiguities or anachronistic concepts in the scriptures.
      And frankly, to chronicle such a momentous event as the Creation, one would think that the timing and sequencing of it would be concise enough to accurately explain the event. This is not crude poetry, but concise documentation.

    • Robert J Davis

      YEC put me in a position of either believing the overwhelming evidence for 4.5 billion year old earth and an approximately 14 billion year old universe or the discredited, in my mind, 6000 year old universe. I was told that this what the Bible says and that it was the only option. I struggled with the evidence that God has given us coupled with the rational mind he has given us and the claim that YEC was the only way to interpret Genesis. Someone guided me to Reasons to Believe ministry (reasons.org) and I discovered that Hebrew word “yom” has several literal meanings, one of which is a 24-hour day. Another that conforms with the evidence God as given us, is a very long period of time (i.e, eons). There was no word Moses could have used if he wanted convey seven long periods of time other than yom. I no longer have to accept the notion that God planted fossils to make the world look old to test our faith as the YECs told me. That would make God a deceiver. As Romans 1 asserts God has given us the record of nature to support our belief in Him, not the other way.

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