Here's what the Bible says.. and I believe the Bible: Genesis 1:1-2 NLT
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Let me give you what I see when I read this very familiar passage:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Yes he did. Fully. Spoke it all into existence. Said BE and it Was.
And it was for a long time... while the stars found their way to their places, while earth became a place of vitality, things happened we have no record of. Just that HE created it all. From nothing. Because he is GOD. Creator of all the heavens and earth. Time? Who knows. I think we can get a clue from the distance of the stars. From records in the earth. Very long ago. God created, recreated, spoke, allowed. many wonderful things happened and there were forms of life he brought into being. We find their fossils and bones. All wonderful.
Then. Something happened. Something amazing. Something without parallel and the earth became as it is recorded in verse two.
What happened? I have an opinion..but I can't prove it. I only know that God created it all and then something happened, something metaphysical beyond comprehension. Some believe it was the fall of satan and his angels from heaven. I don't know. All I know for sure that the net result at least on earth was what we see next.
2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
A dark formless void. A destroyed creation. A complete nothing. Water and formless land.
Then GOD did what we see next. He began by HIS Spirit to speak out against the darkness and say, LET THERE BE LIGHT..and on to the rest.
Now to one other issue. How many days did all this new creation out of formlessness take?
When did TIME as we know it begin? When did eternity cease and time kick in?
Did Adam age? Eve wrinkle? They were to live in the Garden with God forever. So? What do you believe? When did God say to man you will get old and die? The fall of man, sin caused man living for eternity in the garden to take a quantum leap into time, causing them to realize they were naked and God telling them they would now die.
There is much more about this, but others have written on it and while I may not buy every word here written, I find this a supportive document:
- Acceptance of an old Earth does not attack the authority of Scripture. Like many Evangelicals who accept an old Earth, I believe in the inerrancy of Scriptures, and in all of the core theological truths of the Christian faith.
- Acceptance of an old Earth does not necessarily employ a special hermeneutic that twists the words of the Bible. It would be wrong force scripture to conform to science, but that is not necessarily what old-Earth theologians have done. Back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Christians were confronted with scientific evidence that the sun was at the center of the solar system. Some dug in their heels, but others looked at the Scriptures more closely to see what they really said and didn’t say on the topic. There was no “special hermeneutic” required, only a more careful application of the hermeneutic tools they already possessed. Conservative Bible scholars of the past two hundred years have been forced to do the same, and many have come to the conclusion that the Bible does not put constraints on the age of the Earth. They have done this not by somehow forcing the Bible to say something it doesn’t say, but by looking closely at the Hebrew text, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, and gaining a better understanding of the world the ancient Hebrews lived in.
- It may be equally wrong to force science to fit Scripture as it is to force Scripture to fit science. The young-Earth creationists have published an incredible amount of bad science over the years, and held this forth to the church and world as an unanswerable apologetic argument.
- Acceptance of an old Earth is not the same as subjecting the Scriptures to naturalistic presuppositions. It involves acceptance of the idea that “all truth is God’s truth.” Let the rocks speak for themselves and let the Bible speak for itself (but make sure we read them both correctly).
BUT in all this we must not rely on other's teaching, but dig deep for ourselves. What does the Bible say is a good place to start.