Have you ever been to a church that claimed that the earth is young? Have you ever felt pressured into believing in a young earth, even though you felt the scientific evidence was contrary to a young earth? Have you ever thought that in order to be a Christian, you had to deny science, and believe in young earth creation science? You are not alone. Many churches teach that the earth is young, and many require you to profess this belief through their statement of faith, which includes a world that was created in six 24-hour days. No, you are definitely not alone...millions have been driven away from the church, and Christ, because of this very topic.
However, there is no need for this to happen. You can believe in an old earth and be a Christian. The doctrine of salvation has nothing to do with the age of the earth. The Bible does not say, “Believe in a young earth, or be condemned to hell.” You can become a Christian and believe in an old earth.
Want to learn more? This website is here to help you. Let's start with a basic explanation of old earth theology. There are several major positions one can take with regards to belief in an old earth and universe. Using a simplistic view of old earth creationist beliefs, they can basically be split into two groups, those who hold to a Day-Age Interpretation, and those who believe in the Gap Theory.
|Old Earth Creationist Belief Systems|
|Day-Age Interpretations||Gap Theory|
|Progressive Creation||Theistic Evolution|
To learn more about each type, and to help you compare them, we have created a table that combines old earth theories side by side, so that you can easily see what each system believes. Click here to view the table.
Another popular term you may have heard recently is "Intelligent Design," or ID. You can find themes of intelligent design in both old and young-earth theory. The basic premise is that the universe and our world shows overwhelming evidence that it was designed by some higher being, and could not have happened by chance. It should not be considered a separate form of belief...if you believe in a creator, then obviously you believe in ID.
Does it matter which position you believe in? No, it doesn’t. The doctrine of salvation through Jesus Christ is not affected by the age of the earth, nor the methods God used to create the earth. Some people mix and match these theories. For instance, a Gap Theory believer may believe in evolution during the billions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.
In an informal poll conducted on this website, with over 1,100 respondents who believe in an old earth, 45 percent are Progressive Creationists, 32 percent are Theistic Evolutionists, 10 percent believe in the Gap Theory, and the rest are old earth, but undecided as to which position to believe in.
If this information has intrigued you, feel free to check out more of this website. If you feel trapped by years of young earth belief, when you know that science does not support a young earth, then you are in the right place. We take young earth creation science arguments and show their faults, exposing them for using misleading scientific claims and bad theology. There is no need to worry any more about the age of the earth...you can be a Christian and believe in an old earth.
By far the biggist issue people have concerning the creation is the meaning of the word "day." To get you started toward understanding old earth creationism, let's start by examining the Hebrew word used for "day." After this introduction, feel free to examine more of this website.
The first thing you should come to grips with is the concept of "time" in the creation account. It all revolves around this question: How long the "days" of Genesis 1? Young earth creationists have written many thousands of pages of material, arguing that you can only interpret the Hebrew as a 24-hour day. Our argument here is much simpler, and will only take a few sentences.
How long is a day in Genesis Chapter 1? Consider this…the Bible says a day to the Lord is as a thousand years to man (II Peter 3:8). Remember, Adam was created on the sixth day, and these “days” were as God sees days, because only God was here…not man. Man was only here at the very end of the sixth day.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter how I interpret the word day in human languages…the question is, ‘What is a day to God?’ Think about this…if you are in the middle of space, and you are the all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal God of the universe, who never sleeps, then what is a “day” to you? If you are eternal, what meaning does time have for you? Wow, there goes another million years! It won’t matter because you have billions more!
If you are convinced that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and you are convinced the world was created, and did not happen by chance, then you must come to the conclusion that a day for God is a long period of time. God gives us the term day so that limited, finite man can better understand the creation story.
Is this against the Hebrew use of the word translated Day ("Yom") in Genesis as the young earth proponents claim? Not at all. Yes, you can argue for a literal 24-hour day, but it is just as easy to find Hebrew scholars who believe in an old earth, and say that "day" is a long period of time. So, as a believer, it is up to you to decide who is right.
Consider the use of the word "Yom" by Moses. In the Genesis creation account and in Psalm 90 (written by Moses), it is used four different ways!
12-Hour Period. In Genesis 1:5, it says "God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." This use of "Yom" is for a 12-hour period.
24-Hour Period. In Genesis 1:14, it says "And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,…”. This use of "Yom" is for a 24-hour day.
The Entire Creative Week. In Genesis 2:4, it says "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens." Here, "Yom" refers to the entire six-day creative week.
A Long Period of Time. Psalm 90:4 says, "For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." In this instance, Moses says "Yom" is like a thousand years.
In each case, it is the same author, Moses, who uses the word "Yom" to represent a different period of time. Thus, young earth creationist claims that "Yom" is only a 24-hour day are completely unfounded by Scripture. For more, see Word Study: Yom.
If you are convinced, and you have ignored Christianity because of this conflict of the length of creation, then you should know that salvation in Jesus Christ is just a prayer away. Click here to learn how.
Still skeptical…still can’t overcome the arguments used against an old earth by all those young earth creationists? We are here to help. Our articles will provide answers to the misleading claims made by young earth creation science ministries. You can use the menu on the left of your screen to navigate around our website. Simply place your mouse over it and it will expand. You may also find a further explanation of old earth belief in books and through other web sites on our links page. May God bless you as you seek the truth.
The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (1980, Moody Press) says of Yom:
"It can denote: 1. the period of light (as contrasted with the period of darkness), 2. the period of twenty-four hours, 3. a general vague "time," 4. a point of time, 5. a year (in the plural; I Sam 27:7; Ex 13:10, etc.)." For more, see Word Study: Yom.
OBJECTIONS TO OLD EARTH BELIEF
Objections to old earth belief can be boiled down to two key issues. First, the meaning of the Hebrew word used for day, YÔM. Young-earth proponents will argue that it can only mean a 24-hour day in the creation account. Progressive creationists counter this argument because the definitions in the Hebrew dictionaries say that it can be used literally (representing either a 24 hour period, or an unspecified longer period of time ('ages'), or figuratively. Several examples of this is Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, and The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (see footnote.) In fact, during the creation account, it is used three different ways. First, for a 12-hour period, second for a 24-hour period, and third, for the entire creative week. For more, see below. The second, and main objection is Death Before Sin. Young earth theorists claim there was no death prior to Adam's sin. This is a result of a misinterpretation of the applicable Scriptures in Romans and Genesis. To learn more about this apparent problem, read Death Before the Fall of Man or Death Through Sin.