The Day/Age Theory of Creation
In our discussion of the act of creation we have seen that the order of events as described in Genesis follows a certain chronology:
- God exists, is eternal, has no beginning
- He is all powerful, knowledgeable, loving.
- He has the ability to create, not just fashion or form.
- God creates the world
- He brings into existence the time-space-matter elements. These are without form, light or energy. First acts on the first day.
- Angels are created. They are not mentioned here but in Job 38:4-7 it says they were present at the laying of the foundation of the earth. Their purpose was to minister to people (Hebrews 1:14). Somewhere between the creation of the basic elements and the forming of the finished earth, angels were created (Psalms 104:3-4)
- Next, God fashions these elements into the universe that we now recognize as our world, through the energizing power of the Holy Spirit. This creative process will be done in a total of 6 days.
This scenario has been rejected by atheists and agnostics (doubters) who propose that the way that the world came to be as it was by a system of random selection over a period of billions of years within a context where matter is eternal.
The creation account has also been altered by those who want to reconcile evolution with Genesis. One such theory discussed in the previous chapter was the "gap theory." It says that God created the world and because of Satan's rebellion it was destroyed. The earth stayed empty for billions of years (the "gap" is here accounting for fossils, etc.). Then God re-created the world in six days according to Genesis 1:2-ff.
The problem here is if God destroyed the world there would be a record of it in the geological tables and there is not. Also, this would mean that there was sin in the world (the physical world) before Adam but the Bible says that sin came through Adam. Dead things representing the fossil record point to death, and sin is what brings death, so if there are fossils before Adam that means there is sin and death in the world before him, and this contradicts the Bible that says that before Adam there was no sin and therefore no death.
The disobedience of angels is in the spirit world and not the physical universe.
Another theory that tries to reconcile evolution with creation is the "day-age" theory and this will be the first thing we will review in this lesson.
The day-age theory is something like the gap theory in that it tries to fit evolution and creation together in one piece. The day-age theory says that each day in Genesis is not a literal 24-hour day but rather an age (a geological age to be more specific).
This theory says that each day represents millions of years where, through the process of evolution, the world slowly became what is described as fully mature in Genesis.
This theory tries to reconcile Evolution and the Bible but there are problems:
- The order of created events in Genesis is very different from the order found in the geological table used by evolutionists. The Geological Table has species listed from simple to complex throughout ages. Creation has complex forms of life appearing at approximately the same time.
- Like the gap theory, the day-age theory has death, and by conclusion, sin appearing in the physical world before Adam, and this contradicts other teaching in the Bible.
- The grammar used in Genesis 1 supports literal days and not ages.
Although it is possible for the word "YOM" (Hebrew word for day) to mean an indefinite time, the context of Genesis does not permit this interpretation. YOM never means period although it may refer to an indefinite time (the day of the judges). It usually means day (24-hour period) or the daylight portion of the day. It is never used in the "indefinite time period" unless its literal one-day meaning is clearly shown to not be used.
If a person wanted to express the idea of long geological ages, he could have done it in much clearer and concise language. The normal and contextual way of interpreting Genesis 1 is to read 24-hour days. To do otherwise is to stretch the meaning to fit the theory. There is no need to add meaning, it just means what it says.
3Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
- Genesis 1:3-5
The next event recorded is the creation of light. In the same way that Genesis separates the creation of the basic elements from the final form (i.e. time-space-matter, energized into form and movement) the creation of light follows the same pattern.
Three things are happening in these verses:
1. Light (elements for light) is created
When the Holy Spirit moved over the surface, the gravitational forces were activated and He brought form and motion to initially static and formless matter. In the same way the electromagnetic forces were activated by the Word when God called light out of darkness.
Just like energy cannot produce itself, light cannot produce itself. The Holy Spirit moved to energize the world, the Word calls light (all forms of electromagnetism) to complete the energizing of the universe.
The sun, a source of light, and energy, will be created later on but for now the earth spins and goes through a light and dark sequence provided by God.
2. The tri-une nature of God is revealed
The Father is the source of all things (the elements); the Holy Spirit is the energizer of all things; the Word is the revealer of all things (light).
The Father is the source of our salvation, He sends the Word; the Word made flesh (Jesus) reveals the Father and completes the plan of salvation; the Holy Spirit energizes the Son (miracles and resurrection) and the disciples (gifts and resurrection).
3. The day and night cycle is established
This has been the cycle of life from the beginning. Light is day when work is done when things are seen. Even God did not add any new dimensions during the darkness. It was necessary to be specific here because many pagan religions in the future would have "creation" histories that dealt with eons or ages during which the world developed. By clearly establishing 24 hour or natural day and night boundaries, God indicates that all of what He did was done in the normal cycle of day and night.
God did not abolish darkness (that will come in the new heavens and the new earth). He merely separated it from light or day.
Summary - Day 1
- God created the basic matter of the universe.
- He creates angels and judges the ones who fall.
- He energizes matter to give it form and motion.
- He creates the basis for light, electromagnetic spectrum.
- He sets into motion the day and night cycle.
People reject this because it seems hard to believe that God could do it or that He could do it in a one-day period: they would rather believe it all took place by chance, or that God started it and then let it happen by chance.
However, Genesis tells us in rather plain language that this tremendous activity was all done in one day and night cycle and we are called to believe God's account, not man's account.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
- Hebrews 11:3
- Summarize the Day/Age theory and the problems associated with it.
- Summarize the activities happening in Genesis 1:3-5.
- How can you use this lesson to grow spiritually and help others come into a relationship with Jesus?