Review by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 23 August 2005
There is nothing significant for the age debate in the introduction to this chapter.
Length of the Days (Page 52)
Sheffield uses the standard young earth creation science Exodus 20 argument against interpreting the days of creation as long periods. There is no reason presented here that is prohibitive of interpreting the days of Genesis as long ages...other than the fact that young earth creationists do not agree with our interpretation. Fortunately, we are all free to interpret the Bible. Sheffield says, "The question is not what the word could mean, but rather what is the original meaning." He is correct. Since no man was here until the end of Day Six, the question is what is God's view of the word day. Since God is eternal, and does not sleep, a billion years to God is the same as a second. In other words, time has no meaning to an eternal being. For our benefit, and to set the pattern for our week, God described the creation in six days. Think of it this way...since God is eternal, and does not sleep, then midnight at each day transition means nothing...why not have a single creative "day" instead? To Him, there were no "days."
He really messes up with the claim that the word day appears 600 times, and he claims "with the exception of a few references to the "Day of the Lord" it clearly refers to a specific twenty-four hour period of time." The word "Yom" is translated to mean 12 hours, 24 hours, time (generic), week, month, year, age, ago, always, season, chronicles, continually, ever, and evermore. In fact, Yom is translated as something other than day 145 times, encompassing a time frame from 12 hours to eternity. This clearly is not a "few exceptions." For more see Word Study: Yom.
He mentions that there is another word in Hebrew for long indefinite periods of time. However, God could not give us the pattern of our work week based on indefinite periods of time. He had to use "day" to describe it to us. He then briefly touches on the young earth "ordinal number argument," that the word day, when it appears with an ordinal (first, second, etc) always represents a 24 hour day. This popular claim by young earth scholars is not held to by non-young earth scholars. It appears to be a young earth-created rule for interpretation, meant to support their cause. As it is, there is one passage, Zechariah 14:7-9, which includes an ordinal and is not 24 hours.
He then briefly visits death before sin, saying that it is inconsistent with the Bible. It is not inconsistent with the Bible...it is inconsistent with the "young earth interpretation" of the Bible. There are no problems with death before sin, and God's proclamation that creation was "very good."
Sheffield then mentions plant creation on Day Three, and the Sun creation on Day Four, saying plants could not have survived without the sun over millions of years. There is no problem with the timing of creation. The creation account is written from the point of view of an observer on the surface of the earth. One would see plant life forms first, and then once the atmosphere cleared, the sun would become directly visible to the naked eye. This order is perfectly in line with planetary formation models, and with the observed fossil record, which has simple algae as the first life forms.
He then leaves the topic of evidences, and argues from ration. He says it is impossible to believe in God and evolution. However, millions of Theistic Evolutionists prove him wrong every day! It is only impossible for young earth creation science. You cannot believe in a 6,000 year old earth and evolution.
Next Sheffield mentions I Peter 3:8, the "one day is as a thousand years" verse. He says this is very specific, meaning a day is as a thousand years...and not "a day is like eons of time." It's not about the length of time...it's the concept that counts. Time has no meaning for an eternal being.
Next, he moves on to an argument from Hosea 6:2, which mentions two days, and he relates this prophesy to the return of Christ. Coupled with the "thousand years is a day" argument, it means Christ's return is upon us, since we are almost two thousand years after Christ. He can believe this if he chooses. It has nothing to do with the age of the earth, however. From here he launches into man's interpretations and philosophies, presenting no problems from the old earth perspective.
Order of Creation (Page 57)
Sheffield says he will not attack the order of creation, since evolutionists basically have the same order as the Bible states. Interesting. Most young earth authors would argue the order is out of place with the Bible.
Day Two (Page 57)
He talks about the atmosphere, mentioning at length the Canopy theory, and quotes from Carl Baugh, a creationist with questionable credentials. As previously mentioned, the canopy theory is no longer in favor with most young earth creation science theorists. The only ones proposing it now are Baugh and Hovind. At the end, he calls this "true science." Sheffield has now moved from theology to comedy! For more on the canopy theory, see these articles.
Day Three (Page 60)
This section contains a few arguments mentioned in the first chapter. He goes on to mention that truth will not contradict other truth, something that I agree with. However, the definition of "truth" is not something we would agree on, as I see the old earth as being true, and he the young.
Day Four (Page 61)
As with day three, he mentions that trees were created with fully ripened fruit on them. This is referring to fiat creation, instantaneous creation of objects immedietely after God's proclamation. When God said, "Let there be...", the object appeared immediately. Progressive creationists will have no problems with this. For theistic evolutionists, there is no indication of the amount of time from the "Let there be.." statement, and the appearance of the object. Thus, it could be said to have been instantaneous...or it could be millions of years. As such, this argument presents no problems for theistic evolutionists.
I mostly agree with his moon argument, however, he uses Job 25:5 to say the Bible says the moon did not create its own light. It says nothing of the sort. The verse is comparing the moon's brightness to God's brightness. It has nothing to do with the origin of the moon's light.
He then moves on to use the moon dust argument, another argument that has been discredited, and which Answers in Genesis has on their list of creation science arguments creationists should not use. Again, Sheffield is relying on false claims from Hovind and Baugh. For a detailed article on moon dust, see this Answers in Genesis article.
It is interesting that he says Voyager II, launched in 1977, "...traveled through our universe, passing stars and planets..." Noticed it passed stars (plural). No man-made spacecraft has ever passed a star other than our own sun. In fact, Voyager II is still inside the solar system. Such is the quality of Sheffield's scientific observations.
Day Five (Page 63)
Nothing significant here in Sheffield's words. He makes mention that these creations did not evolve from previously existing ones. The Scriptures do not rule this out, however. As stated before, the length of time between "Let there be..." and the created object is not given.
Day Six (Page 64)
He starts out with a short discussion on the "after his kind" statement contained in Day Six, but he goes nowhere with this statement, making no claims.
He then goes on to the Glen Rose, Texas arguments of Carl Baugh and Kent Hovind, which have been thoroughly refuted, and which Answers in Genesis says not to use as an argument for creationism (see the AiG article here). To read a thorough rebuttal of these so-called footprints, click here.
Sheffield goes on to mention that we all come from a common ancestor, and mankind originated from a common location. This presents no problems for old earth creationists, as most believe this.
He briefly touches on the transitional lifeform argument. For a rebuttal of this, see Transitional Fossils.
We then come to his claim about science not being science if it changes it's conclusion about something. This is the nature of science...as new facts appear, theories change. This is a wonderful process, and in no way justifies the calling of a prior theory as "non-science." What we have here is Sheffield's true feelings exposed. He does not trust science, even if he were hit over the head with a 2x4, he would claim the 2x4 did not exist. Such is the young earth mindset...even in the face of overwhelming evidence, they do not believe it or trust it. They are "willingly ignorant" of the evidence for an old earth. More more on this ignorance of the evidence, see Morton's Demon.
He quotes the example of Richard Dawkins, who cannot come up with one piece of evidence for adding new information to DNA. Evolution, by its very nature, is a slow process. It is not surprising that nobody has observed this, considering the study of Evolution is only 150 years old, and considering the study of DNA is just over 50 years old. The lack of evidence for one claim does not provide proof for an alternate claim.
Sheffield devotes just over a page to the issue of man's creation, but mentions no issues concerning the age of the earth. He then mentions the use of the word "replenish" in Genesis 1:28, and argues it should be "to fill." This is only an issue for Gap Theorists, and then it isn't an issue, as they can do without this argument and still believe in the Gap Theory.
Next he mentions that between the creation and the Flood, mankind were vegetarians. He gives no proof of this. True, man was told in the Garden to eat plants, but that does not mean they were vegetarians. There was no "prohibition" against eating meat...just a declaration to eat plants. I believe this condition was true in Eden, but changed after the Fall.
After the Flood, God tells Noah that he may eat animals, so this seems to support the vegetarian claim as well. Between Adam and Noah, there were animal sacrifices (Gen. 4:4). While it does not say specifically, it would be reasonable to assume that they did not waste the meat, and consumed it. However, this is just my opinion. With that said, I see no problems with believing that all mankind were vegetarian. It has no impact upon the age of the earth debate.
Sheffield carries this idea even further, saying that every living thing God created was vegetarian until after the Flood. While there are verses for mankind being vegetarian, there are absolutely none for this idea. I do believe, however, that this may have been true for the Garden of Eden, but outside of Eden, it was a dog-eat-dog world.
Day Seven (Page 69)
The first two pages of this section discuss which day is the day of rest...is it Saturday or Sunday? This has absolutely nothing to do with the age of the earth, and presents no issues for old earth creationists. He continues with a discussion of more words in Hebrew, also irrelevant for the age issue.
He comes back in the end to the Canopy Theory, with the claim that Genesis 2:5-6, shows that it did not rain until the Flood. This also is on Answers in Genesis list of arguments not to use, and is mainly taught by Hovind and Baugh. Interestingly, one item on the list of arguments that creationists should not use is...
Many of Carl Baugh’s creation ‘evidences’. Sorry to say, AiG thinks that he’s well meaning but that he unfortunately uses a lot of material that is not sound scientifically. So we advise against relying on any ‘evidence’ he provides, unless supported by creationist organisations with reputations for Biblical and scientific rigour. Unfortunately, there are talented creationist speakers with reasonably orthodox understandings of Genesis (e.g. Kent Hovind) who continue to promote some of the Wyatt and Baugh ‘evidences’ despite being approached on the matter.
Wyatt was not previously mentioned. He supposedly found Noah’s Ark. Since Sheffield is apparently depending on Hovind/Baugh evidences, Sheffield must be considered to be completely untrustworthy in scientific matters...even by young earth creation science standards!
Surprisingly, he does not argue that the seventh day was also 24 hours.
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
To learn more
about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
or check out the article
Can You Be A
Christian and Believe in an Old Earth?
Feel free to check out more of this website. Our goal is to provide rebuttals to the bad science behind young earth creationism, and honor God by properly presenting His creation.