Why I am Not a Young Earth Creationist


John MacArthur, ally of Young Earth Creation

I grew up in an ultra-conservative, 4 1/2 point Calvinist, expository Bible teaching church. When I was in high school, my church in Lincoln Nebraska brought in a special speaker, the Young Earth Creationist and Bible teacher John C. Whitcomb. He gave a series of talks about science and the Bible.

It was FASCINATING. Ten times more interesting than the usual Sunday Biblical exegesis. A six-part series, a multi-day, power packed tour de force of creation science.

Whitcomb delivered a scorching exposé

of the fallacies of carbon dating; he described the worldwide flood; the Genesis account, the deterioration and de-evolution of the human genome; the tower of Babel.

He explained how Noah’s flood accounted for geological anomalies which secular scientists misconstrued as “millions of years;” and how the earth is actually 6,000 years old. He explained how we know that from the Biblical genealogies. I was captivated.

Whitcomb was a pivotal figure in the Young Earth Creation movement. He and his co-author Henry Morris created an entire field known as “Flood geology.” A weekend seminar similar to that one still appears at a church near you multiple times a year. My church growing up was very similar to John MacArthur’s. He’s pictured above.

When I was seven, I had a dinosaur book I wore out from total fascination. It described dinosaurs living 65 million years ago. My 2nd grade teacher taught me how to handle that:

“Just laugh at it.”

So I did.

Origins didn’t come up much in high school or college. Once I had a conversation about Jesus around the water cooler at work. I offered a pretty convincing case for the resurrection, and a co-worker admitted as much.

But he said, “There’s no way you’re going to convince me that all of humanity is the result of two naked people, an apple and a snake.” I didn’t have a comeback.

I professionally subscribed to a publication called Sensors Magazine. It struck me how technologies – especially sensors, from cameras to ultrasonics to devices most folks have never imagined – are greatly inspired by sensors in the human body and animal kingdom. As an engineer I intuitively sensed a tremendous level of design in nature.

I also knew there were a LOT of questions I couldn’t answer. I wasn’t exactly seeking opportunities to debate.

One day I heard up talk by astrophysicist Hugh Ross called “New Scientific Evidence for the God of the Bible” and it set my mind on fire. This guy explained how the Big Bang was first proposed by a Catholic priest in 1931, scorned for years, then reluctantly accepted in the mainstream. Why? Because evidence for a single discrete beginning 13.8 billion years ago had become overwhelming, despite secular bias against it.

He showed, verse by verse, how modern cosmology and the opening verses of Genesis match exceedingly well. All that was needed was a shift in perspective, a few very elegant assumptions.

So long as you assume a “day” is a period of time, and take the story as being told from an earthly vantage point (which is established in Genesis 1:2), it all fits – tit for tat. Ross described the extreme fine tuning required for gravity, the expansion rate of the big bang, forces, constants etc – physics facts Electrical Engineers are quite familiar with. Wow. That was a mind-blower.

Guess what – no conflict between mainstream cosmology and Genesis after all.

I sent Ross’s tape to a physics professor friend of mine. He wrote back with a rebuke: “David Hume dismantled the ‘design argument’ 200 years ago.”

His reply didn’t contain much actual substance, however. He did nothing to explain the fact that no plausible re-configuration of any of those interdependent constants would result in any kind of coherent universe. Nothing more than a hand-waving dismissal.

I plowed forward, happy to now have a general cosmology that matched the Biblical one – but on a much grander scale. Guess what, those dinosaurs really did live 65 million years ago and it’s not a problem.

The story I’ve told so far will make Old Earth Creationists quite happy – and Young Earth Creationists unhappy. The reason it makes YECs unhappy is… YEC is brittle. Any change to the story forces them to disassemble quite a number of theological shibboleths and re-assemble them.

Go down this road and you’ll soon find major Biblical engine parts scattered around on the shop floor. For awhile may not feel quite sure if they’re going to go back together.

This is anathema to a traditional evangelical. Especially where I came from. Our systematic theology was a vast spreadsheet of theological exact answers and precision-formed parts, carefully engineered and fine-tuned like a NASCAR drive train.

To a traditional evangelical, this comes down to an issue of authority. “Are you going to believe godless secular scientists? Or are you going to believe God’s word?” This is how Answers In Genesis frames the question. It’s either/or, black-and-white.

There’s little dance or interplay between science and theology. You take the plain sense literal reading of Genesis, you eschew those “liberals” who “compromise” God’s Holy Word.

Any apparent disagreement with science is obviously a science problem. Not a theology problem. Not an interpretation problem.

When I was in high school I had debates with my pal Pat, who belonged to a traditional strand of Church of Christ. COC interpreted not a few, but MANY things differently than my home team. I saw that as they rotated their theological Rubik’s cube, they matched some pieces much differently than we did. As I became familiar with other protestants and Catholics, I saw that the re-configurations of Christian theology can be almost endless.

The central pillars of Christianity are quite solid. It’s pretty hard to come up with anything much different from the Apostle’s Creed, for example, without butchering the Bible. But once you get to secondary and tertiary issues, there are many ways to work the puzzle.

I was a pastor’s kid. As Biblically educated as anybody’s likely to get short of seminary. And already by age 20 I viewed the 10-decimal precision and proclaimed certainty of reformed evangelical theology with a jaundiced eye.

I noticed that theologians fiddle with interpretations for their entire lives, and do clever sleight of hand with each other (with plenty of petty name calling, posturing, shaming and shunning) to win debates and protect egos. I knew too much about the Bible to crown one single, rigid, Ken Ham interpretation as king – or anybody else’s for that matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I embrace the inspiration and authority of the Bible. I believe in the lifelong pursuit of truth and discernment. But I believe the value and experience of twisting the Rubik’s cube itself is actually more important than the particular Rubik’s configuration your cube happens to land on today. Nuances of theology are squishy. That’s a fact.

I also think the capacity to dialogue with people who disagree with you, and still love them without losing your cool, is much closer to the “point” of Christianity than whatever doctrines we abstract from the stories and texts.


As an Electrical Engineer, I found some things in science are not squishy at all. Like the speed of light. It’s the “c” in Einstein’s “e=mc^2.” That “c” appears all over the place in physics. It’s in Maxwell’s equations, which define light’s essential behavior; “c” cements the relationship between electric fields and magnetism, and we can measure it with ten decimals of precision. 299,792,458 meters per second.

There is nothing remotely controversial about this in science. (Contrast this to Darwinism, for example, which has been plagued with endless problems and conflicting data for 150 years.)

The speed of light, so far as I know as an electrical engineer, is a constant in physics. Sure, light’s speed changes in a prism, but as a physical constant it does not budge. It doesn’t even shift with the speed of objects. As far as we can tell it’s an absolute barrier.

Q: If a star is 100 million light years away, when did that light leave the star?

A: 100 million years ago.

All kinds of YECs have tried to dodge that question and that answer. None have succeeded. If they were right, physics itself would be a complete mess. But it’s not. Physics works like a precision-built Swiss watch, thank you very much.

Therefore… in the alleged authority battle between science and the Bible… for me, speed of light won.

Once I began seriously considering this, I realized that if the Bible actually intended to say the universe is 6,000 years old, then it could not even be inspired by God.

The universe is old. Period.

But upon further study, I’m not convinced anything in the Bible contradicts that. Rather, YECs have been reading a young earth into scripture for 100 years.

Yes, you can explore whether the speed of light is changing, whether God made the universe to LOOK old even though it’s actually young. I invite you to research to your heart’s content. Personally I’ve been down those trails and I caution you that any of those positions will back you into a corner that you cannot get out of.

Our often-squishy theology needs to make room for verifiable facts. Like the speed of light.

Any honest apologist or thinking Christian surely has to admit that quality of evidence comes into play. The Bible is FULL of history-based truth claims (which is not the case with other religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism).

For example: the honest Christian should be able to say that IF someone really did produce the body of Jesus, if they proved that Jesus didn’t actually rise from the dead, then Christianity is therefore not true. And then we are truly “above all most to be pitied” as St. Paul said.

Is it not true that Christians criticize Mormons for believing in entire civilizations in South America that left nary a trace? For believing that American Indians are actually a lost tribe of Jews, even though DNA evidence contradicts this?

Is it not true that Christians criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses for predicting the end of the world multiple times, and being wrong?

So if Christianity is historical, shouldn’t it be falsifiable as well?

Why does YEC get a free pass in making up its own version of history, yet Mormonism doesn’t?

We should be willing to abandon Christianity if we find it’s not true. By the same token we can shout it from the rooftops if we find that it IS true. That’s the position the apostles took in the book of Acts.

And yes, we can and should use verifiable scientific facts to judge between competing theologies.

Oh, and by the way…. most people at this point would pile on a litany of other problems with YEC. Most articles like this one sport a list of 10 major problems or more.

I don’t need all those. I only need one. Speed of light. It’s exact, you can measure it in the comfort of your own home and you can do the math. Math doesn’t lie.

The other problems with YEC are more fuel for the fire.

We know the earth is old. If that’s true, what theological dominoes fall?

The first domino is the notion that there was no animal death before the fall. Nothing in the fossil record suggests a death-free world before man showed up.

THIS is the lynch pin of YEC. It’s not the word “Yom” (day) in Hebrew, it’s not something else. It’s the issue of death before the fall. Let me explain.

The central cornerstone of YEC is belief that 1) earth was a perfect paradise, 2) God could not make any world that was less than perfect and pristine, and 3) “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Romans chapter five.) For YECs, that means ALL death, not just men, not just men’s spirits.

This holds YEC in place. It’s a theodicy (account of evil despite a perfect God) that many Christians are comfortable with. Throw that out and you have to start over with your theodicy. You’ll need a more complex picture of God.

If earth is old, if bears were eating salmon 50 million years ago, if alligators always had sharp incisors, then God fashioned an extremely inefficient universe where conflict was baked in from the word go.

Cancer and bacteria and weeds and parasites have been around as long as there have been plants and animals.

That, to the traditional Christian mind, is too much to stomach. (Though the same Christian seems to have no quibbles with various other cruelties, both in the past and future.)

My late colleague Michael Marshall asked, “Which is more dangerous? A world with pathogens like viruses and bacteria? Or a world where the 2nd most powerful being in the universe is a serial killer boiling with rage, salivating for an opportunity to devour everyone?”

Did you ever notice that in the Adam and Eve story, God doesn’t even warn them them about what’s coming, or who? He certainly doesn’t do what any normal parent would do.

Nevertheless God declared the world to be very good. Despite the fact that peril was built in to the picture before man ever showed up.

In Genesis 1:31, when God says “And God saw all that he had made and it was very good,” do you know what the Hebrew word for “Good” means in the original Hebrew?

It means “Good.”

It does not mean “Perfect.”

I can still label planet earth a “good” world. I cannot label it “perfect.” I don’t have to like all of it. I can still agree with God that it was good. Exuberant parents bring newborn babies into this good world with joy every single day.

The assertion that God would never make anything “imperfect” flies in the face of not only science, but Biblical theology. And good luck coming up with a coherent definition of “perfect” that aptly describes any created thing.

What did God say to Moses in Exodus 4? “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

This raises even more questions that I’m not going to answer in this article. Some of those are:

Who was the first man? Who was Adam?
Was Noah’s flood global or local? How does known Middle Eastern history overlap with the Biblical story?
Is “death” in the fall physical death, or something else? Does it apply to animals?
How do you read Genesis 1 from an old-universe perspective?
Was the Grand Canyon formed by the flood?
What about evolution? Is evolution Biblical?

You can follow the links above for more on these questions. Meanwhile, basic facts of science which are now beyond reasonable doubt call YEC into question.

God wrote two books: the book of scripture, and the book of nature. I do not believe there is any conflict between the two. But our understanding of both will never cease evolving.

And that is why I am not a Young Earth Creationist.

200 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I think a central missing component to your thinking is Sin. If it came with Adam and Eve and death was a by product of sin. Then by your estimation the dinosaurs would have lived 65 millions years before Adam and continued to live. But if the dinosaurs died why? Why did they die? There would have been no reason to die since sin had not entered the world prior to Adam.

    • When death entered the world through sin that was spiritual death (read Romans 5 very carefully and you’ll see he’s not talking about physical death and he’s certainly not talking about animals either). Animals have been dying for billions of years. We have the fossils to show it is true.

      • Jason says:

        So did Jesus not die physically?

        • He most certainly did die physically. And when he rose, did he have the same kind of body he had when he died? Did man and animals suddenly become immortal? Or was the life in 5:17 a different kind of life?

          • Sam Alvira says:

            “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Romans 6:23

            Rectify that verse with: “of in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are most of all people to be pitied” (I Corinthians 15:19).

            The Bible says that God created all things “good”. Does that include death? Jesus didn’t seem to treat physical death as something “good” when he raised Lazarus from the dead, or see physical death as something to “be defeated” by being raised himself from the dead. If death is part of the “good” that God created, and the punishment of death is only spiritual, then spiritual resurrection is all that is required, so Jesus, as “the first fruits” didn’t need to physically raise from the dead, just spiritually. This also means that our resurrection is spiritual only, but as Paul says, “He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your MORTAL bodies” (Romans 8:11 emphasis mine) This is garbage! You and I both know that death is not good! Stop suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and distorting the Bible to fit your agenda!

            • Scripture says God has put eternity in our hearts.

              It never says he put eternity in our bodies. And it never says it put eternity in animal or plant bodies.

              Adam and Eve had a possibility of immortality. They had the opportunity to eat of the tree of life and live forever.

              But they didn’t. They chose the other tree.

              So YES, Christ needs to bring us immortality. We want that.

              The fact that Christ’s death did not bring all of us immortality on this earth (yet) is your first indication that the death and life of Romans 5 is not THIS death and THIS life. It is spiritual death and spiritual life.

              I show that in great detail here – exegesis of Romans 5, see the bold:


              We have hope not only in this life but in the future life (1 Cor 15:19) BECAUSE death and life in Romans 5 is not this life. It is spiritual.

            • engr.sam nwokoye says:

              Thats a great insight into the word of God @ Sam Alvira

          • Sam Alvira says:

            Was it the same wounds that Thomas touched? Was it fish that he ate? Of course it was the same body! You are pushing Docitism, which is a first century heresy.

      • Mike says:

        Actually, you’re wrong. Fossils show no such thing. They were put there by the global flood, and a phenomenon called liquefaction sorted them and the sedimentary layers during the event, giving them the appearance they have today.

        • Wayne Bond says:

          Mike; so your God lies to us?
          God gave us Creation and Scripture, when you correctly interprete either they match.
          The laws of physics are gifts from God and guide our understanding.

          • Richard Wagner says:

            What laws of physics did God use to part the Red Sea, the talking Donkey, feeding the 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish, heal the sick instantly, ect???

        • Jose says:

          Mike, I agree there was a flood. There were many floods. Not just one. The Bible speaks of this certain account because it was the story of Noah, and the purpose behind Noah’s impact on human history, according to God’s terms. This does not mean there has been only one historical flood in natural history. There have been many catastrophic occurrences that have affected this planet we live on.

          • Woodrow Francia says:

            That flood happened during some series of generation after Adam and Eve, but during that time , human populace have not yet “multiplied and subdued the world” and haven’t reached the tipping point of immigration. When God declared he will destroy the world – its the human populace He could be referring at since God is more concerned on the sinfulness of man. That period, human population may be found just within the area not any farther than human have occupied. So the Flood could be local and not worldwide.

      • Sam Alvira says:

        Then why did Jesus have to physically raise from the dead and live forever?

      • engr.sam nwokoye says:

        Dont twist it. Death is death.Blood flows,but in the new world,there will not be any kind of blood shed.Fossil records issue, are still very controversial subjects.

      • Peter says:

        Based on the evidence as presented here in this article. And my own research. I am also no longer a young Earth creationist. That in no way undermines my trust, and admiration of scripture as the inspired word of God.

      • Woodrow Francia says:

        Living things had been dying outside of the Paradise even before the fall. When God commanded us to multiply and subdue the earth, its should be the expansion of Paradise which is suppose to begin in the garden. The garden was closed to the fallen Adam. God will restore that garden when we have all changed from “corruptible to incorruptible bodies” same when Jesus resurrected hence eternal life. Paradise where the tree of Life can be found is still restricted up to now.

    • Franklin says:

      Actually the answer is quite simple. Death has had two meanings. Before “Adam and Eve” there was death, but natural death, where there was no eternal consequences when death occurred. However, after the mytho-poetic story of the Fall, death changed for modern humans, sin, then, meant that an eternity outside of God’s blessings and love, an eternity of Hell, could occur.

    • Gordon says:

      The Bible never claim that there was no death of any kind prior to the fall. After all, what did cows and horses eat since grass and vegetation are living things. Romans 5:12 suggests that the death that came as result was a spiritual death, which was limited to humanity.

      • Kelsey Van Every says:

        There is no “spiritual” death for humans. The spirit lives on forever, either in a place with God or a place without God. Genesis 3:13 speaks of dust returning to dust, physical death. Jesus died bodily. Rose again when He was united with a new, resurrected body. We all will have a new body one day, reunited with our spirits, to live eternally one place or another. To postulate that when God told Adam “you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17) such referred to “spiritual” death is a fallacy.

        • Gordon Sun says:

          Spiritual “death” means eternal separation from God. There are numerous biblical references to support it.

        • David C. Moorman says:

          Why pray tell does the Christian need to “seek” immortality? If immortality was something man always had then Christ died in vain.

          To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: – Romans 2:7 KJV

          Why pray tell does Paul bother then to tell mankind that only God is immortal?

          Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen. – 1 Timothy 6:15-16 KJV

          Why does the Bible speak of two deaths and two separate Resurrections?

          But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection. Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. – Revelation 20:5-6 KJV

          • Gordon Sun says:

            Spirit is the metaphysical part of man, but not the complete part of him. The death Adam experienced was not only a physical death but a spiritual one, i.e., he no longer can walk and talk in the garden with God. His spiritual death was immediate and physical death eventual.

        • Jose says:

          Kelsey, God speaks of spiritual death and physical death. You can’t have one without the other according to the purpose of the blood atonement.

    • Jose says:

      Dave, dinosaur extinction provides fossil fuels, which is the simple reason.

      • Bob Nooban says:

        Actually the source of fossil fuels is organic plant matter both land plants that form coal and oceanic and fresh water plankton that become petroleum. Animals, especially big animals, were only a tiny percentage of the biomass.

    • David C. Moorman says:

      Excellent. I was thinking the same thing. I can here the author now, “Ah, well, er.. well, um, er…you see, well, er, um…!”

  2. Gabriel Powell says:

    I appreciate the candor of your article, but I find something very interesting in your argumentation. On the one hand, you label theology as “squishy” and note how theologians can twist and turn Scripture to come to different conclusions. On the other hand, you portray science to be solid as if there is a unified explanation of the history of the universe that everyone believes. Your article would be helped if you were more honest about the squishiness of science. I’m not saying that there are debates about the speed of light; I’m saying that there are credentialed scientists that disagree on a host of issues. For example, I know a retired mathematician and researcher who conducted research at CalTech. He didn’t know of any Christian or non-Christian mathematicians who believed in the big bang because it is mathematically impossible.

    You also fail to acknowledge that the many interpretations of Scripture don’t stem from a unified hermeneutic. There are all kinds of reasons that theologians come to different conclusions, and what the biblical text says (i.e. the hard evidence) isn’t usually it. In other words, scientists and theologians are not dissimilar in that they both have different reasons for their conclusions apart from the evidence.

    Also, can you explain how you know that the speed of light in unchanged in intergalactic space? I know man hasn’t been out there to conduct any tests, because we can’t even get a probe out there to do any testing yet.

    • I’ll acknowledge all day long that science is squishy too. Scientists and theologians are a lot more alike than different.

      But we have a tremendous amount of information about the speed of light because we can see stars in every direction from a vast range of distances, from a few light years to billions of light years. We can see the red shift (“doppler effect”) and if the speed of light were changing, it would be VERY easy to detect. Very. It’s not changing. And it’s a fundamental constant in physics and since physics works, speed of light therefore must be a constant.

      Someone could come along tomorrow and show that it’s not always a constant and that would radically change physics. It might be one of the top 10 discoveries of this century. But I would still be awfully surprised if such a discovery then validated a 6000 year old universe.

      • Gabriel Powell says:

        Hi Perry,

        Thanks for the response. My point is not to claim or prove that the speed of light varies (though you said that yourself when you acknowledged that it changed in a prism). My point is to say that it is bad science to claim that the speed of light is a universal constant because no studies have been done–or can be done–to prove that. For example, what is the speed of light when God applies His miraculous power to it? Would you agree that if God performed a miracle regarding light, that the natural constant would likely be different? Furthermore, the studies of the speed of light have been limited to a tiny fraction of time (recent human history) and an even tinier slice of space in the universe. Therefore, you have no basis to claim that the speed of light has always been the same speed and that it is the same speed at every point in the Universe–a vast area of space that consists of vast physical properties which we do not understand.

        Another thing I think is important to point out is that you are clearly at pains to establish your theological credentials. You say that you are the son of a pastor and thus know the Bible as well as anyone minus seminary. Honestly, that’s a bit cheeky. First of all, all that indicates is that you’re the son of a pastor–is says nothing of the quality of your biblical education. Furthermore, when you go on to describe your exposure to other denominations, you portray an ignorance of the historical and hermeneutical reasons that gives rise to their varying interpretations of Scripture. Also, by saying that any interpretation of Scripture always comes down to the apostles creed, you put on display an ignorance of the history (or current models) of biblical exegesis. There are plenty of biblical interpreters who would not arrive at the apostles creed, mainly because they reject various portions of the Bible as true.

        It’s not my intention to interact with you biblical explanations and questions in this article because you clearly have an elementary understanding of the Bible–as surely as you must think I have an elementary understanding of the speed of light. You seem to spout the all-too typical misunderstanding of biblical exegesis and theology that leads to YEC, and you also show that you haven’t taken into consideration how the rest of the Bible interprets Genesis 1-11 (and the significance of that if one holds to inspiration and inerrancy).

        In short, I’m not a scientist, but I’m always skeptical when scientists make claims of immutable truths that they can’t possibly prove. I am a theologian that has studied this issue extensively, and I’m frequently appalled at how scientists (who acknowledge they aren’t theologians) mishandle Scripture as you do here, and as Hugh Ross does everywhere.

        If you’d like me to be more concrete and give examples, I’d be happy to do so.

        Grace and peace.

        • “My point is to say that it is bad science to claim that the speed of light is a universal constant because no studies have been done–or can be done–to prove that.”

          There are about three dozen processes and devices that your life depends on every day, which ONLY work because the speed of light is a constant.

          Including you being able to post this blog comment right here.

          If the speed of light were not constant, there would be no guarantee that the packets across the internet would arrive intact so your comment could post.

          Showing that things work a certain way without exception is all that science can do, Gabriel.

          If you have no use for that… or if you don’t think that’s a way of knowing… then why use the scientific method at all?

          But sir you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you can’t find a single exception to the speed of light then you have no grounds for objecting to what I’ve just said.

          And I respectfully submit to you that something as elegant and simple as the speed of light is the only thing one needs to know to be certain that YEC is doing faulty exegesis.

          • Gabriel Powell says:

            “And I respectfully submit to you that something as elegant and simple as the speed of light is the only thing one needs to know to be certain that YEC is doing faulty exegesis.”

            I appreciate the attempt, but that is a non sequitur. It’s precisely the same argument, “something as elegant and simple as the fact that dead humans don’t come back to life after three days is the only thing one needs to know to be certain that Christians who believe Jesus rose from the dead are doing faulty exegesis.” Apply your reasoning here to any miracle described in the Bible and you’ll see how it is nothing more than the repetition of anti-supernatural naturalistic reasoning.

            Please help me understand how you know the speed of light when God applies His miraculous hand to it. Or to be specifics, what is the speed of light when there is no light source as in Genesis 1:3?

            • How long is a day when there is no light source as in Genesis 1:3?

              • Gabriel Powell says:

                A normal day, as explicitly defined by Exodus 20:9-11 and 31:17. Again, God doesn’t need a light source to know how much time has passed.

                If you deny that the two passages in Exodus define the length of days in Genesis, then you need to explain the authorial intent behind it, and how He could possibly have expected His people to understand what He meant if He didn’t really mean normal days.

                • How is there “evening and morning, one day” if there’s no light source – unless “evening and morning, one day” is a figure of speech?

                  I’m not sure why anyone would need to be dogmatic that this is explicitly 24 hour literal when “days” as such may not even exist before “day” 4.

                  14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

                  15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

                  “and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years…. and it was so.” Was is past tense. Seems to be a strong implication that days and years passed before the end of “day” 4.

                  I was already clear about this. This is a strong exegetical argument all by itself.

                  But there are others:

                  -Day applies to both one day and multiple days across Genesis 1 and 2
                  -There is no “evening and morning, a 7th day” – we are in the 7th day now
                  -This is further reinforced by Hebrews 4:

                  4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

                  5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

                  6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

                  7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

                  8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

                  9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

                  Hebrews 4 is an invitation for us to enter the 7th day of rest now.

                  Other problems with “day = 24 hours”:

                  11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

                  12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

                  13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

                  Notice it says the EARTH brought forth plants, which brought forth seeds, trees yielding fruit after their kind. This means that trees produced more trees (which came from the ground initially) – it says there were generations of trees. Notice it doesn’t even remotely imply that it just appeared all at once (which many people here say happened) and this doesn’t happen in any kind of 24 hour day we’re familiar with.

                  And that’s not all:

                  24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

                  25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

                  Living creatures came for after their kind – before the day was over.

                  Therefore the simple, elegant explanation is that a day is not 24 hours.

                  • Will Moran says:

                    Hey hey, I got this one – God also made all the plants in one day, right? We could say that it takes a LONG time for all the plants and trees to grow, especially into a domination-state on the Earth, but God said he did it in one day. Then, a few days later, he created Adam. Adam might have observed a Redwood Tree that LOOKED hundreds of years old, even though it was little older than he was. I mean, think about this – we are talking about a God who created everything from nothing already. If the stars were created in the same way, why would they not be already-visible? I don’t know guys, but i’m gonna have to go with the Bible on this one… Thanks 🙂

                    • Then what shall we make of the exquisitely detailed billions of years of history that we clearly see in geology and astronomy? Is it all just fabricated by God? Does Adam’s Redwood tree have damaged bark from storms that never actually happened?

                      And do you sincerely expect any reasonable non-Christian to buy this sort of “God just made it look that way” explanation?

                    • David C. Moorman says:

                      Excellent Will.

                      A God that can make time, matter, & space in one fell swoop needs to explanation. You need faith to believe. I’m sure when I get to Heaven God will say, “Hey, wanna see something?”

                  • Sam Roberts says:

                    //I respectfully submit to you that something as elegant and simple as the speed of light is the only thing one needs to know to be certain that YEC is doing faulty exegesis.//

                    Is it? Let me ask you a question. When you are building a new PC, do file ownership and user rights have anything to do with the decision to go with SATA over IDE? PCIe over AGP? Bus speed? Amount of RAM? The order that cabinet files get unpacked from the OS installation?

                    My point is that it is perhaps an error on your part that you are assuming the same rules govern the bootstrap/install process as day-to-day administration and operation. If you cannot PROVE that this is the case, it is an assumption on your part.


                    The speed of light is a function: speed = distance/time. However, Einstein asserted that time is relative. If this is true, then the speed of light is ALSO relative and cannot be constant. To sidestep this, Einstein made the following statement:

                    “That light requires the same time to traverse the path A > M as for the path B > M is in reality neither a supposition nor a hypothesis about the physical nature of light, but a stipulation which I can make of my own freewill in order to arrive at a definition of simultaneity”

                    In other words, it is an assumption he made without evidence. And, there are behaviors that particles exhibit that defy the speed of light (Quantum Entanglement, for starters) which prompt scientists to theorize nonsense like “all particles are connected through wormholes” so they can explain the data without jettisoning the constancy of c.

                    Finally, you CAN’T calculate the speed of light. No one can. What we do is we time the round trip of light, and take the average. This gives the impression that the outbound speed and the inbound speed are in fact the same, but they may not be. No one has ever calculated the true, one-way speed of light. If you can do this, please submit your paper for peer review.

                    //How long is a day when there is no light source as in Genesis 1:3?//

                    How long does it take the Earth to revolve once about its own axis? Does this revolution require a light source to happen?

                    //I’m not sure why anyone would need to be dogmatic that this is explicitly 24 hour literal when “days” as such may not even exist before “day” 4.//

                    If these are NOT 24-hour-days, then…

                    – Why is it that “yom” plus an ordinal number is used 410 times in the OT and over 100 times in the Pentateuch alone, and always means a 24-hour day? (e.g. Gen. 7:4; Ex. 20:9-11; Lev. 19:6; Job 2:13; Josh. 6:3-4; Ezra 3:6)

                    – Why is it that “yom”, plus “evening (ereb) and morning (boqer)” is used 28 times, always meaning 24-hour day? (e.g. Num. 9:15; Deut. 16:4; Dan. 8:26)

                    The three Hebrew markers for reading “yom” as a literal, 24-hour-day are all present in Genesis 1:1-2:4: ordinal numbers, evening, and morning. If this passage used “eth” (time), plus “day” or “night” (as in Jer. 33:20 and Zech. 14:7), THEN you would have a clearly-communicated ambiguous period of time.

                    If it is your thesis that “evening + morning + [ordinal number] + yom = a non-literal period of time longer than 24 hours”, then it is incumbent upon you to prove so, using any of the following:

                    1. Verse citations from the OT. Citations from earlier portions of the OT hold primacy, as exegetical rules dictate that earlier usages define the words for books written later. Therefore, passages from the Pentateuch, Job, and Joshua would pull more weight than those from Chronicles, Ezra… or Hebrews (which was written in Greek, in the NT era; more on this in a moment).

                    2. Passage quotations from documents predating the composition of Genesis. Usages found in the Ebla, Mari, or Nuzi Tablets, Amarna Letters, Enuma Elish, Epic of Gilgamesh, or Hammurabic Code would be accepted. Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees, which is a city that has been excavated in ancient Sumer. If the Sumerians used “evening + morning + [ordinal number] + day = a non-literal period of time longer than 24 hours”, then that would be shown to be an influence on Hebrew thought.

                    IF YOU CANNOT DEMONSTRATE THIS (as is likely the case), is it not more likely that you are not merely interpreting Gen. 1:1-2:4, so much as exploiting a perceived ambiguity in the text so you can inject your own ideas?

                    //This is further reinforced by Hebrews 4//

                    First, Hebrews was written circa A.D. 70, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple and the Diaspora. If you want to prove that this passage is indicative of the literal understanding of Gen. 1:1-2:4, please produce documentation to corroborate this. Targum citations, Midrash, translations into Greek or Aramaic.

                    Second, the passage is talking about salvation and redemption, and the atoning work of Jesus Christ, our high priest. The author of Hebrews is pleading with his audience to accept Christ’s substitutionary atonement for our sins, which will be made clear if you back up a bit to Chapter 3. The usage of creation imagery is a poetic image illustrating the perfection of Christ’s priesthood over that of the Levitical priesthood, which is made more clear if you continue on from Heb. 4 through chapter 7 to 8:1. The Levitical priesthood never sat down, because their work was never done. By contrast, Christ sat down, because once he rose from the dead, ALL priestly work was finished forever. THAT is the point, not the constancy and reliability of the physical laws of the universe as laid down at Creation, as you are trying to say.

                    In using this passage in Hebrews to support your view of creation, you are not only leaning on an anachronism that would be totally alien to the ANE mindset of the Fertile Crescent circa 2000 BC, you are also quote mining.

                    //Notice it says the EARTH brought forth plants, which brought forth seeds, trees yielding fruit after their kind. This means that trees produced more trees (which came from the ground initially) – it says there were generations of trees.//

                    I install an OS on my computer. My hard drive brings forth programs. I don’t see the issue here.

                    //Living creatures came for after their kind – before the day was over.//

                    Did they? Or is the passage (like the ones you brought up concerning plants, and before that, stars) simply saying that from that point, everything has proceeded or been used the way God set it up?

                    How long are you going to rationalize your grief, Perry? Your issue with YEC is not the exegetical problems; it is the underlying pain of your brother’s loss of faith. And HIS loss of faith is, I warrant, due to some problem or series of problems that caused spiritual trauma. This is your coping mechanism, and his too.

                    The problem, however, is not the Bible; nor indeed even the traditional interpretation of the Bible. It is, rather, the traumatic event that you are choosing to bury beneath layers of rationalized excuses, rather than come to grips with.

                    I do not mean that to sound accusatory or harsh. But ask yourself this: why do you find it easier to redefine the interpretation of the Bible than to talk about the sense of loss and emotional turmoil that came from your conversation with your brother ten years ago? Why is it more comforting to you and your brother to believe that death, and suffering are built-in to Creation (and thus, just an impersonal part of life), rather than believing that these things came about (and still come about) because of human sin, hubris, and self-centeredness?

                    I wish you well, Perry, but this path will not heal your pain. It will only bury and repress it.

                    • You told me that I can’t assume the rules at the beginning are the same as the rules now (your computer analogy)…

                      …but then you turned right around and told me I HAVE to assume that a day at the beginning is the same as a day now.

                      You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Sam.

                      Your claim about ordinal numbers is false:
                      The first exception to the “rule” is found in Genesis 29:20, where echad yom refers to a period of seven years that Jacob served Laban to obtain Rachel.

                      You do not seem to be familiar with how the speed of light is used in the laws of physics – Maxwell’s equations, for example – or E-MC^2. The very fact that physics WORKS CONSISTENTLY is proof that the speed of light is constant.

                      What is your background and expertise with respect to physics and mathematics? Do you have any business lecturing an electrical engineer about the speed of light?

                      And I find your psychologizing and alleged interpretation of my motives disingenuous and judgmental. You don’t know me. And yes, you are being accusatory, whether you claim to mean to be that way or not. It is getting tiresome.

                    • bruce says:

                      Then what shall we make of the exquisitely detailed billions of years of history that we clearly see in geology and astronomy?
                      first alow me to distance myself from john macarthur, he is not my pope.
                      Second may state that yec is not essential to salvation.
                      now in response to your statement about seeing billions of years – these are a fabrication of Darwinism when it was thought that billions of years would make evolution possible. Atheists put on lab coats and defend their religion. Just watch Dawkins perform on Junk DNA.
                      I did not embrace YEC easily. For the first few years I just set evolution on the shelf. then I started to question it. Then I began to read the works of YEC scientists, having let go of the caricature of an in bread hillbilly with a gun and bad teeth. I came to accept that there is abundant evidence that is out right rejected by athiests who pretend they are doing science because they “will not allow a devine foot in the door.” they are left calculating and recalculating, adding fudge factors (universal constant) (dark matter) then subtracting them; all because their religion requires that God be left out of the equation. I found you work interesting and you attack on intelligent design and YEC confusing. I pray god blesses your journey. Oh and what about gravity. they say Einstein solved the problem of the magical force, but they keep expecting to find a particle that explains it? It’s a difficult world for atheists.

                • Gordon Sun says:

                  Gabriel, let’s say that the earth is 6,000 years old. Based on the literal reading of Genesis, that puts Noah’s flood around 4,500 years ago. Given that there were only limited species that he could have brought on to the Ark, even if they were newborn animals. How would a YEC explain the speciation of animals to what we have today in such a short time span? We know that since God ceased from his creative works on Day 7 he hasn’t created any new species. The only logical conclusion is that the rapid speciation came as result of hyper-evolution… yet we know that evolution contradicts Genesis account.

                  • Bryan says:

                    Gordon said: “The only logical conclusion is that the rapid speciation came as result of hyper-evolution… yet we know that evolution contradicts Genesis account.”

                    Rapid speciation contradicts the evolutionary framework, my friend.

                    • Gordon Sun says:

                      The point is, what is the mechanism for rapid speciation after the flood? Remember, God ceased his creative process after Day 6.

            • Ty says:

              Wonderful answer! Anytime one uses Science to confirm the scripture or attempts to reinterpret scripture so as not to contradict science the next step which must follow is to discount all the other miracles in scripture.

        • Paul says:

          Gabriel, the speed of light is CONSTANT in a VACUUM, but slows down otherwise, which is how we get refraction, either in prisms, pools of water, drops of water (which is how we get rainbows), and gases (which is how we get beautiful multicolored sunsets).

        • Jose says:

          There’s no doubt that a young universe/earth interpretation of God’s Word destroys it.

        • Mike Tisdell says:


          As someone who has studied theology extensively, I am frequently appalled (to use your word) by how some who hold the YEC perspective twist both Scripture and the historical understanding of the church to prove their perspective is the ONLY true biblical perspective. Even though I agree with you that some of Hugh Ross’s biblical explanations are weak and that it is highly improbably that some of the biblical texts he uses were originally understood as he has suggested, I am far more astounded by the Scripture twisting that is employed by some of the YEC organizations like AiG and CRI that, rather than stretch the evidence within the boundaries of the grammar of the biblical languages like Hugh Ross has sometimes done, simply ignore the grammatical and syntactical rules of the biblical languages in favor of grammatical and syntactical rules that they pull out of a magic hat. While I can look at some of Hugh Ross’s explanations and recognize that his explanation of the biblical language is highly unlikely, I have not seen him invent grammatical and syntactical rules that are unsupported by any serious biblical scholarship as is frequently done by some YEC organizations.

        • Tim Rider says:

          Scientific or theological arguments stand or fall on their own merits, not on the credentials of those presenting them.

      • Kelsey Van Every says:

        Light travels with different speeds through different media. 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum; 140,000 mi/sec through water; 124,000 mi/sec through glass; 77,500 mi/sec through a diamond; and 38 miles per hour!!! through sodium atoms at a temperature slightly above absolute zero. Physicist Lene Hau of Harvard performed the experiments with sodium atoms near absolute zero. Google her and you can read about her experiments. So light does travel through different media and temperatures at different rates. It is not a stretch to postulate that light was travelling extremely fast at the “big bang” and has slowed down to what appears to be “constant” for us. (Kind of like a firework explosion in the sky-it goes out real fast at first, then slows down dramatically). Light might still be slowing down now, a few feet/second/year, say and we just don’t have the instruments to detect such small changes. The “big bang” could be where God spoke the universe into existence. Funny how Quantum Physics is telling us everything is a wave. Light used to be described as a particle, but now is proven to be a wave which acts like a particle at times. Even in the deep recesses of the atom are, yes, waves. The voice of God, perhaps??

      • Martin McCurley says:

        The speed of light does change in a vaccuum,Science has shown that.The big bang does not provide all the answers The claim is 15 billion years old but the universe is 146 billion years wide the math does not add up as you claim it does

        • Gordon Sun says:

          The speed of light traveling within space is different than the expansion of space measured in terms of light years (a measurement of distance).

      • bruce says:

        I think the problem for you is that you are stuck on the speed of light. There is more evidence that this surely you are not ignorant about the life expectancy of comets, the acknowledgement by secular scientists that the best explanation for the origin of the mood is that it isn’t there. the 80% of the universe has to be invisible a fudge factor to make the current atheistic big bang work. have you realized that E= MCsquare require an additional variable I (information)?

        • Please use your full name.

          Yes i am stuck on the speed of light. I know a great deal about this subject. And no one has addressed this problem in such a way that would make YEC a reasonable conclusion.

          • Jose says:

            The problem is not the speed of light. It’s how God used words, beginning with Yom, which has four literal definitions. That seems to be more of a problem than the speed of light.

            • The only problem is people insisting that Yom absolutely has to mean 24 hours. Considering that a conventional day / night doesn’t exist until “day” 4, I don’t see merit in insisting on strict literalism.

              If conservative Christians would relax on that one point they would save themselves a great deal of heartache.

              • Jose says:

                I agree, and my point was that many Christians have the wrong point of view. It absolutely kills me when I hear someone say that the Bible has the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day, and this dude is concerned with the speed of light. God help us.

          • Grace says:

            Here’s Missler’s take on the speed of light slowing down, if you haven’t read it yet. http://www.khouse.org/articles/1999/225/

            • This article doesn’t address any of the fundamental questions, it just mentions a proposal by a few scientists which hasn’t gotten any traction. This article is 17 years old and doesn’t address the problems that have been brought forward since that time. Major parts of physics (which work VERY well thank you very much, like conservation of matter and energy) would have to be scrapped and physics rebuilt from the ground up. It is very, very unlikely that this is helpful or needed.

            • Gordon says:

              Hyper-inflation seems to be a much better explanation. Light speed must be constant or else laws of physics breakdown. It’s actually very simple to understand the uniformity problem once you understand that nothing can travel faster than light IN space but space itself is expanding faster than light.

    • Gordon says:

      We know that light doesn’t change speed in interstellar space because we can use supernovae as space clocks.

  3. Noah says:

    Old earth, young earth is a distraction if you ask me. I see where you’re coming from but at the end of the day it has nothing to do with your salvation. Good read, thanks for sharing.

    • Tim Rider says:

      It matters in that it is upon the fundamental credibility of Scripture that the gospel rests. If I start from theological neutrality and consider which belief system to embrace, I will reject the gospel if Genesis is shown to be false.

      I often pose the question: “If we cannot get them past Genesis, how will we ever get them down ‘Romans Road’?

    • Dan Z says:

      “Old earth, young earth is a distraction if you ask me. I see where you’re coming from but at the end of the day it has nothing to do with your salvation.”

      Noah, for me it makes a great difference. If the young earth interpretation of the Bible is the correct interpretation of the Bible, then based on what I know, I think I would have no choice but to reject the Bible (or at least the Genesis portion). I believe that young earth creationism is a stumbling block to those with some scientific background that are truly seeking.

      • Dan Z says:

        In John 14:6 Jesus claimed to be the Truth. Either that statement is true or it is false (duh 🙂 ). If it is true, then (as I see it) the way to honor Jesus as the Truth is to honestly go after the truth (whatever that happens to be) no matter where it takes us…

      • I agree.

        • Kelsey Van Every says:

          Perry, what if the truth (scientific truth) takes you away from your entrenched “old universe” worldview?? Consider this: Harvard astronomer John M. Kovac and his team of physicists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, using radio telescopes at the South Pole to measure polarized microwave radiation, found that the observable universe went from a speck to the size of a grapefruit in one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth second or about 1 over 10 to the 33rd power. If a grapefruit is 2 inches in diameter, then, converting to miles per second, the speed at which everything, including light, would have been going at the big bang is 3.15 times 10 to the 27th power. This is several trillion times the 186,282 mi/sec we see light travelling in a vacuum now. This shows light has slowed down. Fits perfectly into the Second Law of Thermodynamics which shows entropy, a “winding down” of the universe.
          Even light from the farthest star (12 billion light years away) could easily reach earth in 6,000 years. And, this assumes that 12 billion light years is accurate. Triangulation measurements are good only up to 400 light years-far from 12 billion). The reporting of this is scarce (It blows the “old universe” theory out of the water). One report of this study appeared in 2014 “proving-a smoking gun” for the big bang. People now realize the implications and don’t want to answer to a just and righteous God like Huxley said was why he and other atheists embraced evolution. I hope, Perry, you are not against science which goes against your worldview. Either accept these scientific facts or go do your own experiments to disprove them.

          • Kelsey Van Every says:

            I meant to say if the grapefruit was 2 inches in radius, not diameter. My bad. Also, the Kovac experiments detected immense gravitational waves, squeezing space in one direction and expanding in another (God stretching the heavens). These magnetic fields could also greatly affect light speeds.

            • Gordon Sun says:

              If you look at the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics, the photons (light particles) didn’t separate from the “super force” until well after the inflationary period of the universe. Therefore, there was no “light” at the moment of the Big Bang. BTW, this is consistent with the Scripture that God created light after the initial creation process, i.e., in the beginning…

          • Please reference the literature and experiments that you are describing.

          • Grace says:

            Kelsey Van Every, thank you for your post (and the follow up). This is what I was trying to convey to Perry in sharing Missler’s paper. Chuck Missler has gained great popularity in recent years with this same mathematically sound approach to entropy. I shared the wrong article earlier, and Perry rightly stated that his info was inconclusive and outdated. I will look for his recent paper and science resources. But, I do agree that entropy blows ‘old earth’ out of the water. I am not as bright as you science guys, but I do believe from God’s perspective, wisdom and discernment wins out over knowledge. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Biblically speaking. An “old earth” perspective cannot hold up if the universe is winding down. And yet here we are, winding down. Lord, come quickly.

  4. Steve Stone says:

    I am not a scientist or an intellectual, so I won’t pretend to be either. But I have been a Christian for over 30 years and I have read much on this topic. I don’t believe there is ANY reason to believe in millions of years unless you “want” and “need” to do so. Many people want to because it helps them to remove GOD from the equation so they can live their lives without being worried about being accountable to Him. And many people need to believe in millions of years because so many intellectuals would call them ignorant if they don’t agree.
    But the Scripture says those who think they are wise have become fools by believing such things. And, there was NO DEATH before the garden of Eden.
    Personally, I am convinced that the entire argument for millions of years was developed to write GOD out of the script of history, but it will all topple like a house of cards the moment Christ returns, or the day we die.

    • Gordon says:

      Actually there is more compelling reason to believe that God created the universe billions of years old. Otherwise, if he just made a young creation to look old, then why would he “deceive” us? If we measure light from distant stars that’s beyond 6,000 light years away, then are the stars really there? If not, then it would be a hoax, which is against God’s character and nature.

      • Kirk says:

        This response like many of the other old earth arguments here are based upon a number of assumptions and illogical fallacies. To make the question why did he make it look old and deceive us sets YEC up for failure. God made the creation complete not old and just just because we can see the light that he created at the moment of creation in the vastness of the universe only makes sense. If God put the stars out there and we couldn’t see it then what good are they? I would ask if we could not see them how would we know that they were there?. The wrong assumption is made in the argument here and the correct one is when God made his current creation he made it complete in its wide array and vastness.

        The second fallacy and illogical assumption of the old agers is if God made the earth 6000 Years ago then how can we measure stars that are many more light years away? The answers very simply you’re looking at light that was created at the moment when God spoke it into existence so that we could also see it. There’s no contradiction in Genesis here or with any young earth interpretation. The contradiction comes with the older earthers where they have to keep twisting things illogically , Unbiblically, and even unscientifically. They failed to take into account that God can say I mean what do you wants and clearly convey it to us.

        One other thing Is dealing with the issue of day. You don’t have to have light and darkness to have day from God’s perspective because God is not limited by time. God defined time for us. And he called the light day and the darkness night. But any Time the word day or “Tom” is included with evening and morning that always and only means a 24 hour period That God established. This is where the old earthers don’t use the original Hebrew correctly and try to twist the Bible.

        • Kirk says:

          Yom not Tom. And God can clearly say what he means, he doesn’t have to have us humans trying to extrapolate other potential interpretations.

    • engr.sam nwokoye says:

      You said it all.Thank you

    • Grace says:

      Maybe this a bit off topic, and it could be here in this thread somewhere, but has anyone mentioned the theory about the Satan’s rebellion causing the destruction of the earth? I was shocked to hear a teaching by John Courson back in the 80’s when he suggested it was probably between Gen 1, verse 1 and 2, that the rebellion against God occurred and Lucifer with 1/3 of the angels were cast down from heaven to an earth which was already created, triggering an event so devastating it caused mass extinction of all life on the planet earth. Then in verse 2, the Lord recreated the habitat (according to the biblical account) on the planet to sustain life once again. I am certain that Jon caught grief for teaching this, because I never heard it taught again. Of course I still believe entropy prevents the earth from being millions or billions of years old, but it could account for us finding more age on this planet than 8,000 years +-. Mainstream evangelicals consider it a heretical teaching. Obviously this topic is thought provoking and controversial, but that is why I joined this thread in the first place.

      • Jose says:

        I find it humorous how people that are stuck on a literal, young earth (whatever you want to call it) interpretation, are so driven with the issue of how entropy needed to work, or how the speed of light needed to work in order to justify their literal interpretation.

        • Jose says:

          It kind of goes something like this: let’s just stop all of the physical processes that govern the universe because Moses wrote it this way. And then I have this picture in my mind of Moses shaking his head because he’s realizing that most literal interpretists have no idea, or choose to ignore, the many literal interpretations of the words that God gave him. And to make matters worse, they choose to ignore our astronomical evidence that God said He gave us. What a shame.

  5. Jerry says:

    The speed of light is not constant. If measured by the planets it has been slowing for centuries. This is after measurement errors are taken into account. It only shows as constant when measured by atomic occupations which appear to be linked to it. Infinite speed of light 6000 years ago and your argument fails.

  6. Erik says:

    There is actually a quite easy answer to your non-stated question. And it’s not what you are expecting. Compare the statements in Exodus 20:8-11 with those of Genesis 2:2-3. The word pattern is the same. Six days and then the Sabbath. If the “days” of Genesis are not literal days, then they also cannot be literal days in Exodus. And there is no understanding by any reasonable standard that you can be confused in Exodus. People are exiting slavery. Keeping a Sabbath has to mean a single, solitary day. There is no getting around that. You don’t have time for years or eons or ages. if you do, then you are asking those people in Exodus for the impossible. I invite you to consider this and re-read the history. YEC as a concept does not have to only be 6000 years. There is room in the geneological record for “gaps” which can push 10-11k years easily. And consider that in a geneology that the “father” or “begat” means “forefather”, and hence the emphasis is on generations, not literal father-son relationships (even though that applies most of the time.) Context is king. Applying it properly will lead the reader to a correct conclusion.

    • The point is not the length of the day, it’s the pattern of work and rest.

    • Gordon says:

      If the 6 days of creation is literal 24-hours, then what about the 7th day in Genesis 2.2? Against the pattern of the previous days, there was no end to the 7th day.

    • Tim Rider says:

      Scripture also compares the six years of cultivating crops and resting the fields on the seventh year to the sabbath. Obviously that is not a 24 hour ‘yom’. It is the ratio of the comparison that is significant.

  7. This article has a wrong view of science. Science is a process of discovery, but placing too much confidence or precision on present knowledge is a science stopper. You say the speed of light is an absolute constant, but some theoretical physicists, as well as creationists, have questioned this. Instead of making these assertions you need to engage with their material. Barry Setterfield has tried to deal with some of your objections. http://setterfield.org/

  8. Type Evolution is Impossible the movie into your Internet browser to watch a 30 minute PowerPoint that PROVES Evolution is Impossible!

    Please watch it to the end…

  9. paul morelli says:

    would be interested in your take of the soft tissue found on fossils recently

  10. Heathe says:

    Astrophysicists such as Harnet, Baumgartner & Humphreys all have excellent biblical based theories that answer your questions on the speed of light from a literal biblical point of view. The Bible even gives a clue with the quote about stretching the heavens out. Have you genuinely researched this area? For eg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mooHSXTR2RE

  11. Byron says:

    Great article!! I appreciate your work through this site and how you endeavor to substantiate your point of views with evidence. I have had this exact conversation with many brothers and this has given me new knowledge to chew on. I have limited knowledge in the worlds of physics & biochemistry but I am a scientific thinker as well as a Believer. I have found that many YEC proponents insist on the Hebrew word “yom” being interpreted as a 24 hr day which can be true. However the word can also mean “an undefined but finite period of time, such as an epoch or age”. This second definition fits succinctly with both the Biblical and physical evidence available. Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    • Gabriel Powell says:


      You’re right that “yom” can mean something other than a normal day. But when we read literature of any kind, we don’t interpret words based on all the possible meanings. Rather, we consider the range of meanings and allow the context to determine the precise meaning in that point.

      For example, I used the word “range” in the previous sentence. It can mean a variety of things including a place where people shoot guns, a span between two points, etc. But you instinctively knew what I meant because the context made that clear. In the same way, while “yom” has a range of meaning, the context of Genesis 1 makes clear that it must mean a normal day. Furthermore, the rest of Scripture attests to that meaning (Exod 20; and Jesus referred to creation of Adam and Eve in the beginning, which wouldn’t be true if mankind was created billions of years after the beginning).

      I’ve never heard any exegetically sound reason to take “yom” as anything other than a normal day. If you’re going to make that case, you must make it exegetically, demonstrating that the context makes it necessary, and that the rest of Scripture is consistent with that view over and against the normal day view.

      Grace and peace.

      • Exegetical reason #1:

        “Day” In Genesis 2:4 means all the days

        4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

        Exegetical reason #2:

        Sun moon and stars are not available to mark time until “day” 4.

        14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

        15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

        In fact based on just those two things then do we have any good exegetical reason to be dogmatic about 24 hour days at all?

        • Gabriel Powell says:

          “Do we have any good exegetical reason to be dogmatic about 24 hour days at all?”

          Neither of those are valid exegetical reasons.

          Your first argument is using a different use that clearly has different exegetical markers to determine the meaning of different uses with different exegetical markers.

          Your second argument is not exegetical but based on faulty reasoning about what necessarily constitutes a normal day.

          You’ve heard it before, but the actual exegetical reasons that confirm a normal day can by summarized as follows:

          – When “yom” it used with numerals, especially in such a chronological way in which they are, that strongly indicates a normal day. Would you have any examples that contradict this?
          – The combination of the daily boundaries of “evening” and “morning” are extremely strong markers. Do you have any examples that contradict this?
          – The inspired and inerrant text of Exodus 20:9-11 and 31:15-17 make it virtually impossible for “yom” to mean anything but a normal day. God explicitly equates the six workdays with His six creation days.
          – God (the Creator of all and Author of Scripture) is able to account for time without the use of the sun and moon. But even then there was still a distinction between light and darkness starting from day one.

          Are there any passages that declare or imply that the creation of all things took billions of years and that the history of mankind is actually a tiny fraction of the history of the universe?

          These explicit, exegetical arguments taken together make it incontrovertible that “yom” means normal day. Many Hebrew scholars affirm this, even if they reject the truth of creation.

          Grace and peace.

          • https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3117&t=KJV

            Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

            day, time, year

            day (as opposed to night)

            day (24 hour period)

            as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1

            as a division of time

            a working day, a day’s journey

            days, lifetime (pl.)

            time, period (general)


            temporal references




            Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
            יוֹם yôwm, yome; from an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literal (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figurative (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverb):—age, always, chronicals, continually(-ance), daily, ((birth-), each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), elder, × end, evening, (for) ever(-lasting, -more), × full, life, as (so) long as (… live), (even) now, old, outlived, perpetually, presently, remaineth, × required, season, × since, space, then, (process of) time, as at other times, in trouble, weather, (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), × whole ( age), (full) year(-ly), younger.

            Strong’s Number H3117 matches the Hebrew יוֹם (yowm),
            which occurs 2,287 times in 1,931 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV

            • Gabriel Powell says:

              Hi Perry,

              I’m not sure what your posting of Strongs is intended to mean. I was waiting for a substantive comment, but it appears you didn’t plan to give one. I don’t deny that “yom” has a range of meanings, but no one determines the actual meaning of a word in any context by cherry picking from a dictionary.

              It would be helpful if you could run through my exegetical arguments and explain–exegetically–why they are invalid. You could start by explaining how “yom” in Exodus 20 and 31, which explicitly refer to Genesis 1, doesn’t mean a normal day.


              • Tim Rider says:

                It is often said that debate is won by those who define the terms. The flip side of that same coin is that debate is lost by those who define the terms inaccurately.

                To draw a linguistic parallel from Greek, there are at least ten words in Greek that correspond to our one word for love, including agape, agapao, phileo, asteios, etc. So which one is literal? They are all EQUALLY literal, but distinct in meaning! Likewise, there are four EQUALLY LITERAL renderings for the Hebrew word yom. Assigning ‘literal’ or ‘normal’ to any one of them is simply inaccurate. Scripture does not say the universe was created in six days, it says it was created in six ‘yoms’. It then becomes incumbent upon us to determine which of the four literal renderings of yom is appropriate. It strains credulity to see everything that happened on the sixth yom as happening in a 24 hour day, and we know from Hebrews 4 that the seventh yom continues to this day, since we are invited to enter into God’s sabbath rest that he entered into on the yom after he finished creating man. If we interpret the sixth and seventh yoms as longer than 24 hours, we need to be at least consistent with the other yoms mentioned in Gen 1

          • Jose says:

            There’s no Hewbraeic “chronological” rule that supports your claim of how “Yom” is used in Genesis 1.

          • Jose says:

            Gabriel, Evening and morning do not constitute a day. You’re hanging on to your literal interpretation as a young universe, but; the problem is that God’s General Relativity is revealing issues with your interpretation.

  12. Max says:

    Understanding Science and Religion https://engineering.purdue.edu/~zak/Walt.pdf
    (wondering if this paper sheds any light on the matter for you.)

  13. Tim Rider says:

    It is important to understand that there are four distinctly different kinds of death Paul refers to in Romans: physical death, spiritual death (separation from God), death to sin, and death to the Law. Failing to properly discern between them (easily done through context) will all but guarantee misinterpretation of Scripture.

    There are three fundamental hurdles the YEC must overcome, and most are unwilling to do so. The time frame over which God works is a function not of His ability, but rather His choice. Our time dimension was itself created by God. The Creator is not subject to His Creation. Therefore, God is not subject to time. With God, there are no distinctions between a day, a year, or a watch in the night. He transcends time.

    The YEC sees the day age model as a direct affront to God’s omnipotence, as if He couldn’t do it any faster-which ‘begs the question’: was creating the universe in the shortest time possible His objective?

    Since Scripture tells us in many places the ‘the heavens declare His majesty, the stars speak forth daily, His attributes are clearly seen, etc. The question is: ‘do we believe what they are saying? Or are they presenting a false or deceptive picture? Since Romans 1 states that ultimately our responsibility for our salvation rests upon this testimony, would a just God hold us responsible for conclusion based on false or misleading information (such as ‘the appearance of age’). It is ultimately the integrity of God’s Word that YEC is at odds with in rejecting what we find when we examine His Creation.

    Thirdly, there is the pride issue. The entire YEC Empire is at stake, with publishing, the creation museum etc. Evolutionists are criticized for having too much at stake (rightfully so) but YECs are just as guilty.

  14. Brian Brookbank says:

    Age is inherent in the creation account. Decayed matter from plants which never grew in the garden soil; meals which were never eaten, digested and fueling cells of man and beast; light which had never traversed from its origin- all of these are presupposed in an account of a man being created at least old enough to walk in the garden. I seriously doubt anyone who marvels at the creation believes the Creator sent a son who was resurrected. All science says this cannor be.

  15. Bill Wilder says:

    My fundamental approach to this subject is “The God who wrote the Bible and the God who created the universe are one and the same, and He can neither lie nor be mistaken; therefore, the facts and observations of science (not necessarily the theories), when properly understood, can never be in conflict with the Bible, when properly interpreted.” I agree that for each of us, our harmony of the two may change over time as we learn more about both science and the Bible. My current understanding is an ancient universe and earth based on speed of light and the fact that Genesis 1:1 is not part of the six days of creation; they begin in verse three with an existing universe. I would date the six days at about 6,000 to 8,000 years B.C. I believe there are gaps in the genealogy from Noah to Abraham as 500 years is not sufficient time for the documented ancient civilizations to develop, especially Egypt to be as mature as it was when Abraham went there. This approach, know as the gap theory for the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3, has enabled me to harmonize many questions of science and scripture with trivializing either one.

  16. Brandon says:
  17. CS Dyer says:

    You really shouldn’t misrepresent John MacArthur by having his picture on the front of your article.He definitely would not want his image represented in your on this topic.You seem to be moving away from the Word of God(Revelation) to human philosophy.When we mix Revelation with philosophy,Revelation loses every time!We have to take the Bible at it’s word on faith.Not blind faith,but accept there’s lots of things in scripture we can never understand with our finite minds.There’s so many doctrines that our human minds can’t explain like how can we have predestination along with free will?How can they coincide?I can’t tell you but I know the Bible clearly teaches both and we have to trust God.The problem is we try to figure God out but we’ll never do it.The division Paul writes and rebukes the church at Corinth in 1 Cor 1 is because they were living in a culture of philosophy with separating factions which were then and are now divisive.

    • You are welcome to take that view, but that being the case, then YECs should not try to call their theory “creation SCIENCE.” If we simply have a choice to either have complete faith OR incorporate science and philosophy into our worldview, then we need to come out and tell Christians upfront that our faith is not supposed to necessarily conform to any verifiable external facts.

      But I would submit to you that the entire apologetic of the gospels was external verifiable facts, including blind people healed, resurrections and everything. I don’t believe we have to separate science from philosophy from theology, rather we have to do the hard work of integrating them. And that means jetissonning interpretations of the Bible that science now shows us to be incorrect or impossible.

  18. Michael Ellis says:

    Hugh Ross does not represent all scientists. I would recommend reading “Refuting Compromise” by Jonathan Sarfati, a direct challenge to Ross’s old earth arguments, as well as more than 10,000 scientific articles supporting the young earth view on the Creation Ministries International website: http://creation.com

    • Tim Rider says:

      The presumption of ‘compromise’ is a false one. It is simply an interpretation that is consistent with the evidence left by the Creator.

  19. Carson Wiens says:

    As simply as possible and in no way intending to cause offense, I want to ask how someone can have a true saving faith and not believe that God created the cosmos in six literal days? The reason I ask is this…all things were created and “came into being” through Jesus Christ, who as God’s “Word” was the means of speaking creation into existence. In his earthly ministry, Jesus clearly demonstrated his authority over nature and in his first miracle instantly caused something to come into being that was previously not, by turning water into wine. There are molecular compounds in wine that do not exist in water which Jesus supernaturally created. Please note that our faith is given to us and it gives us the ability to trust that the author of creation has complete control over it. Science, is humanity’s means to explain natural processes, but can never explain supernatural acts of God. I’ll put it like this…if God is not able to create the heavens and the earth in 6 literal days, how then could He raise Jesus from the grave in 3? If He is not powerful enough to set in motion all things according to the counsel of His will, then how can He provide a means of salvation to His people? Science is great and I love it, but it is not a substitute for attributing to God only what He is able to do. Our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. The universally accepted categories of science are time, force, motion, space and matter. “In the beginning (time), God (force) created (motion) the heavens (space) and the earth (matter)” Genesis 1:1 Again, not trying to offend, but ask yourself this question…how big is your God?

    • This is far more subtle than simply whether people believe in miracles or not.

      Notice that Jesus still had scars in his resurrected body. Meaning that there were still traces of history. Yes, he was resurrected – which is OBVIOUSLY a miracle – yet there was still evidence of what happened before. That evidence and history was very important, as you well know. He showed Thomas those scars as proof that he was the one who had been crucified.

      In the case of nature, we have the miracle of life itself. It is so amazing that no two biologists even agree an identical definition of what life even is. But we also have a loooooong, exquisitely detailed history of a universe that according to every observable fact is very, very old. We can see stars that are 100 million light years away. We can see them explode today. That means the explosion either happened 100 million years ago, or it wasn’t there then at all, and God simply made it appear to happen (somehow deceiving us in the process) and we just saw it now.

      The *appearance* of age creates tremendous philosophical and interpretational problems. I say the problem is the classical American interpretation of the Biblical text. Not a question of whether God does miracles. (Many rabbis and church fathers have interpreted old earth for over 1000 years. Insistent YEC is a relatively recent phenomenon.)

      You ask a great question: How big is your God? Indeed. My God created a vast universe, almost unfathomably large and which has been expanding for 13.8 billion years so far as we can tell. That is a much bigger God than the God they told me about in Sunday School.

  20. Paul Viggiano says:

    Just curious. You said: If a star is 100 million light years away, when did that light leave the star?
    A: 100 million years ago.

    Is it not possible for God to create a star 100 million light years away and also immediately create the light between that star and us? And if it is possible for God to do that, would we not see that star the moment it was created?

    • Gordon, in this thread, said:

      “Actually there is more compelling reason to believe that God created the universe billions of years old. Otherwise, if he just made a young creation to look old, then why would he “deceive” us? If we measure light from distant stars that’s beyond 6,000 light years away, then are the stars really there? If not, then it would be a hoax, which is against God’s character and nature.”

      If that star was created 6,000 years ago with the light between that star and us, then the universe has 99.99% fake history. Which is a huge theological, philosophical and scientific problem. And if that were the case I can’t imagine why you would fault any non-Christian for believing the universe is old!

      • Brandon says:

        If this presents a “huge problem,” then all of creation presents a huge problem. Everything was made mature. If Adam died two seconds after being created, his appearance would tell of 30+ years of “fake history.” But, of course, it’s not fake history, just the way in which God created. And I don’t fault a person dead in sin from not seeing the truth of Scripture

      • Bryan says:

        Perry, Perry, Perry… Don’t you realize that The Big Bang has the entirety of the universe being formed in milliseconds… FASTER than the speed of light?

        So are you willing to use the stars themselves to contradict what Einstein proposed and Stephen Hawking adheres to – – the big bang?

        I’m not betting against those two at ANY science fair.

      • Bill Furman says:

        I agree with Perry Marshall in “Evolution 2.0” that star light millions of light years away is present scientific observation (empirical) and cannot be interpreted any other way. We know today that light travels at 186,282 miles per second and some stars are a million light years away no matter when they were created. Physics says that the light from these stars are a million years old. Based upon that fact, he believes the universe cannot be around 6000 years old and, with him, that ends the conversation. However, for me, that does not end the conversation mainly because I see many problems with the OE position. The debate between Young Earth proponents (YEP) and Old Earth proponents (OEP) has caused a high degree of polarization within the Christian community. It seems to me that YEP try to reconcile science to the Bible and OEP try to reconcile the Bible to science. If YEP, as some have accused, twist science to fit the Bible, I think it is more than fair to say that OEP twist the Bible to fit currently accepted scientific theories. Both sides have made all kinds of detailed and complex explanations by different interpretations of science and the Bible. After studying and pondering over the different positions, I have come to the realization that I believe everything the YEP espouse except that maybe the earth per se isn’t young and I don’t believe anything that the OEP espouse except that maybe the earth is old. Although I suggest a “gap,” I don’t’ believe any of the “gap theory” positions that I have come across. Because I see an empirical scientific problem with the YE position and a number of theological and interpretational problems with the OE and “gap” positions, I have tried to approach reading the creation account without any position bias. I suggest a very literal reading without reading into it yields a combination of the three positions, YE, OE, and gap theory, without compromising the Bible or science. For a little different perspective, please read the paper
        which addresses these issues entitled “The Old Young Earth” from which the above excerpts come. Please read in its entirety before jumping to conclusions or labeling the position.

        • In your paper, you are right to point out that young earth creation has to accept a considerable amount of macro-evolution in order to make a literal global flood 5000 years ago work out. That should give YECs a few strong reasons to like Evolution 2.0.

          Personally I think YECs try way too hard to take the Bible literally to the Nth degree.

          I’ve never met a YEC who gouged out his eye because it caused him to sin.

          Most YECs don’t believe in the gifts of the spirit, like tongues and prophecy, despite having no scripture which explicitly says those things are going away. They don’t anoint people with oil and pray over them when they get sick.

          So it puzzles me that even though they don’t take the New Testament seriously when it comes to healing, for example, they get angry when someone doesn’t take every single word of Genesis literally. I’ve seen miracles myself and they’re a WAY more powerful apologetic than doctrinal arguments. My “skeptic” friends always go silent sooner or later after I show them this page: See http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/miracles.

          If you examine, for example, scripture’s descriptions of the heart and kidneys, NONE of them are anatomically and physiologically accurate if you’re going to be technical about it. We don’t think with our hearts, we think with our brains.

          But “heart” is a poetic and idiomatic way of communicating an idea. It gets the idea across quite well. So I’m fine with that. I’m fine with the same with the creation and Noah accounts as well for the same reasons.

        • Gordon says:

          Do you believe the earth has fixed position and the sun revolve around the earth? If you don’t, as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther and John Calvin (among other reformers) taught, then are you twisting scripture, such as described in 1 Chr 16.30, Psa 93.1, 1 Sam 2.8, Psa 19.4-6, to fit science?

    • Gordon Sun says:

      Paul, while that is plausible, it is unverifiable. Which in this case we have left the scientific realm and entered into a philosophical one. However, based on data, the light of stars have been traveling for billions of years. Again, it goes back to the question: why would a holy God practice “deceit,” i.e., giving a false impression of something?

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