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.

407 Responses

  1. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike Tisdell,

    Well, “I didn’t change what you said, I only slightly restated what you said” only belittles the straw man you set up and now threaten to knock down, maybe to embarrass me. Let me point out what you changed.

    According to your summary, my “proposition” was all about a grammatical construction, one that we have been discussing for sure, but I have not posed as an expert on the usage of this construction. My actual claim, which you quoted (February 9, 2018 at 11:05 am), was all about what an English translation suggests. It was a translation (“dying thou shalt die”) proposed by Hebrew scholars and put into the center reference column of some KJV Bibles.

    In the second part of your summary, you stated, “It is your claim that the inf. absolute was added to communicate that the action would not be immediate.” I see two problems with this part. First, it implies that I made a claim about the intention of the writer of the Hebrew text, but I made no such claim. Modern readers can only guess what the ancient writer intended, based mainly on available knowledge of Hebrew grammar and usage. Second, if “Ge. 2:17 was intended to convey that idea that the man’s death would begin in the day he ate the fruit” (first part of your summary), I would be contradicting myself if I went on to claim “that the inf. absolute was added to communicate that the action would not be immediate.” I deny that I contradicted myself this way. If I did, I certainly do not stand by the contradiction.

    Your latest comment seems to be concerned with the proper term for the “Hebrew construction” that we have been discussing. Since we both already know exactly which construction we are talking about, let’s focus on something more germane. You also renewed your challenge to me to find “a reputable reference from a Hebrew scholar that supports the grammar case you have proposed, or you acknowledge that Hebrew scholarship doesn’t support your claim,” as though I have some claim about Hebrew grammar on the table that I need to defend. No, you are the acknowledged Hebrew expert with lots of reference materials handy, so let’s concentrate on the proper application of your knowledge to Gen. 2:16.

    Concerning this “other verse,” you did say, “… common sense should get you to a reasonable answer,” as though I had only one question about it. Does the proper interpretation of this verse have any impact on the proper interpretation of the next verse? Does infinitive absolute usage in Hebrew really help us interpret either verse, or do we really have to rely on just our common sense? Do you not want to discuss this or answer my questions about Gen. 2:16 as our Hebrew expert until I settle an imaginary claim of mine? I don’t get it. Is this just a cop-out or what?

    Maybe we are over-analyzing. Maybe you are tired of this. I liked the questions that Bill Furman put to you yesterday (February 11, 2018 at 3:13 pm). Maybe you would dare to address those. I was also wondering about your take on a recent conversation with Ken Koskinen on another one of Perry Marshall’s blogs.
    Please search for Christian salvation to find the part where we began to discuss the proper interpretation of death in the passage of interest. He expressed the opinion that God lied to Adam when he warned about dying on the very day, if Adam disobeyed the command not to eat the fruit. Do you agree with Ken, based on your knowledge of Hebrew? We might have an interesting discussion about your answer to this question too.

  2. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    I agree that translations of a biblical text are not necessarily inerrant. I also believe that not even every copy of a given text in the original language is necessarily inerrant. What is inerrant, in my book, is the original text in the original language. We don’t have any pristine text, straight from the hand of the inspired writer, but by comparing many manuscript witnesses, one can, in almost all cases, reconstruct the original text with confidence. The few exceptions seem to be minor in their impact on the overall message. In fact, I believe that the underlying message can be understood fairly well through some translation into your own language, so that you do not have to know the original languages to benefit from reading the Bible.

    Regarding the size of the vocabulary, Mike’s point is well taken, as far as I am concerned, but there is more to the story. We should also realize that a text can be ambiguous even if the language has a huge vocabulary, and conversely, the meaning of a text can be quite clear even if the language has a relatively small vocabulary. In the case of Hebrew, one factor affecting possible ambiguity in some cases is the fact that the most ancient manuscripts did not have diacritic markings (such as the dagesh), vowel points, punctuation, or spaces between words, so these had to be added later based on context. Mistakes or wrong guesses could be made in the process. I suspect that many who read translations are not aware of this difficulty.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      My point is that Biblical Hebrew contains about three thousand base words, in which nearly all of those words have multiple meanings. In modern-day Hebrew, there are more than those three thousand words. I’m referring to Biblical Hebrew. It’s very simple, and we should keep it simple. So, Biblical misinterpretation is an English language issue.

      • Mike Tisdell says:

        Jose Lopez,

        The numbers I provided you were for biblical Hebrew, and not modern Hebrew. You claim of 3,000 words is completely false. Check HALOT, BDB, Holiday, etc… All list more than 10,000 words, and all are lexicons that ONLY include words from Biblical Hebrew.

        And again, the equivalent working vocabulary is twice that size because Hebrew (Unlike English) uses verb conjugations to convey meaning.

  3. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike Tisdell,

    Your “I didn’t realize” comment, addressed to me (February 13, 2018 at 9:30 am), was evidently written in response to my comment addressed to Jose the day before. You probably had not noticed my comment to you (February 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm) submitted only seven minutes after the comment to Jose because it went onto a new page. If you see a red “Newer Comments >>” link at the bottom of your page, please click it to see that other comment written for you.

    Anyway, thanks for clarifying what you mean by Hebrew scholarship. Thanks, too, for clarifying why you called the construction of interest “the infinitive-imperfect construction” in one comment. As you know, the term imperfect normally refers to incomplete action, but in Hebrew, it does not work the same way as it does in French, for example. In Hebrew, it can refer to incomplete action in the past or to future action that has not yet begun, and it is evidently the latter case that interests us with regard to Gen. 2:16-17. In English, we can easily distinguish between “you will die” (simple future) and “you will be dying” (future progressive). Please correct me if you know better, but Hebrew may not have a straightforward way of making this same distinction. If I am right about this, the choice between those two alternatives may be a matter of interpretation, based perhaps on context.

    You wrote about my “grammar proposal,” but as you will see in the comment I wrote for you yesterday, I deny having such a proposal on the table for discussion. My actual proposal was about what a particular translation from Hebrew to English suggests, so this is why knowledge of English should be relevant to judging my actual claim. That is, specifically, the translation “dying” (in English) suggests that the action could be prolonged, as in, Adam will be dying physically for almost 930 years. We should care about this, because the Hebrew scholars who proposed the English translation could have proposed instead to die thou shalt die or simply left “thou shalt surely die” without any alternative translation.

    • Mike Tisdell says:

      Tom Godfrey,

      The aspect of time communicated by Hebrew verbs, perfect or imperfect, is much more fluid than in English; however, the use of the infinitive absolute + imperfect tends to limit rather than expand the window of time express i.e. it is an indication of emphasis and not containing action. Additionally, the inclusion of ביום (in the day) also limits the aspect of time that should be understood. Grammatically, everything in this verse indicates immediacy as best as it can be expressed in Biblical Hebrew. The only reason to understand it any differently is for theological reasons, not grammatical ones.

      Regarding the question of why Ge. 2:16 appears different, it is the choice of the verb and not the grammatical construction that makes the difference. In this case the difference is nearly identical to English. Example:

      If you come to my house I will certainly feed you.


      If you come to my house I will certainly kill you.

      We understand that the first statement may represent an open invitation that could be repeated, not because the verb structure indicates a continuing action, but because the verb used does not indicate an action that can only happen once. In the second example, we understand this will happen only once because people cannot be killed more than once.

      • Jose Lopez says:

        Mike, when we’re referring to Biblical Hebrew, Yom, translated day, has four, different literal meanings. There are no perfect, or imperfect, conjugations to justify your interpretation. It’s very simple,dude. Move on.

        • Mike Tisdell says:

          Jose Lopez,


          “Mike, when we’re referring to Biblical Hebrew, Yom, translated day, has four, different literal meanings. There are no perfect, or imperfect, conjugations to justify your interpretation. It’s very simple,dude. Move on.”


  4. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    Your conclusion, “Biblical misinterpretation is an English language issue,” oversimplifies the problem. Unless we are talking about someone misinterpreting an autograph manuscript or a copy of it, I think any case of misinterpretation involves two languages, the language of the source text (in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic) and the language of a translation (such as English). If I misunderstood your conclusion, please clarify it.

    In general, the proper interpretation of a passage like Gen. 2:17 is not necessarily so simple as it may appear. When you read your favorite translation in a modern language, it is not obvious how much work was involved in producing it. Ancient scribes copied original texts or copies of them until finally copies were produced that were also preserved and became available for study by textual critics, who produced critical editions that translators could use as their source text. Translators needed to learn the language of those texts, and this usually involved the work of many other scholars, who produced grammars, lexicons, and other aids to translation, not to mention teachers or professors. Translators also had to apply their skill and knowledge.

    English languages issues (or issues related to some other target language) do finally have an impact, for sure, but they come in two forms. First, the translators have to use good judgment and knowledge of the target language to produce their finished translation. Second, readers have to interpret what ended up in a translation to settle on a message that sinks in, speaking to their own heart. Misinterpretation could be the result of an issue that arose anywhere in the long process of transmission from source to heart language.

    Frankly, I don’t think the number of words in the source language, whether basic or derived, is much of a factor in this complicated process. Maybe Mike can explain this better than I can.

    There may be some question about the best way to interpret Gen. 2:17 in view of scholarly knowledge of Hebrew grammar. Otherwise, why would we have alternate translations in our KJV Bible? But there is another angle that should not be missed. If scholars tell us it must mean that God warned Adam that he would drop dead physically the same day that he ate the forbidden fruit, if he ever did this, implying that God lied to Adam, because Adam clearly did not drop dead that terrible day, then I doubt that we really understand the passage the same way Moses did or the Israelites who heard or read Genesis while wandering in the wilderness.
    I just can’t believe that they would all have ignored the problem, or not even recognized it, and silently passed it on to future generations as sacred scripture. Gen. 2:16 might be a key verse for finding a reasonable interpretation of the next verse.

  5. Barry Wadhams says:

    Enough of this bickering guys, my inbox is getting full up… The facts are Adam’s Spirit died that day and his physical body began to die from that day on. Doesn’t go any way to resolving the debate.

  6. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike Tisdell,

    Thanks for your February 17 comment with more on the meaning of Gen. 2:17, this time with more attention to Gen. 2:16 as well.

    You said, “The aspect of time communicated by Hebrew verbs, perfect or imperfect, is much more fluid than in English,” and I was already aware of this much. You went on to say, “…however, the use of the infinitive absolute + imperfect tends to limit rather than expand the window of time express i.e. it is an indication of emphasis and not containing action.” Both statements are rather vague, but I need help understanding how the second one applies to Gen. 2:16 in particular. Intuitively, by your rule, the infinitive absolute might suggest that Adam was being given emphatic permission (or a command?) to eat fruit just once. Any more eating would require a separate authorization.

    Recall that I said earlier, “In English, we can easily distinguish between “you will die” (simple future) and “you will be dying” (future progressive). Please correct me if you know better, but Hebrew may not have a straightforward way of making this same distinction. If I am right about this, the choice between those two alternatives may be a matter of interpretation, based perhaps on context.” Your comment about the choice of verbs seems to be consistent with my guess. Let’s look at your examples a little more carefully.

    “If you come to my house, I will certainly feed you” seems ambiguous to me without more context. In the context of an invitation to come to my house for an extended stay, yes, one could assume that the feeding would continue for the duration of the stay, with many repetitions of the act of feeding. On the other hand, in the context of an invitation to come for just one evening, one could assume that the feeding would happen no more than once (just one dinner).

    To get back to Gen. 2:16, with the chosen verb switched back to eat, I think you are suggesting that “thou shalt surely eat” or “you will certainly eat” is more accurate than “thou mayest freely eat” (KJV), because the window of time during which eating is allowed ought to be more clearly limited than it would be with a simple imperfect form of the Hebrew verb.

    I suspect you chose feed and kill as the verbs in your English examples to emphasize the contrast that you wanted to illustrate, but remember that I am asking about a possible contrast between the senses conveyed in English by simple future and future progressive tenses. We actually need to be thinking about the verbs eat and die instead, and notice that the sentence, “If you come to my house, I will certainly be killing you,” sounds much stranger (at least to me) than the sentence, “If you come to my house, I will certainly be dying,” precisely because the act of killing is normally much more nearly instantaneous than the process of dying, which may well be more prolonged, depending on the circumstances.

    By the way, your examples would be better if they were changed to the third person singular, because if the first pronoun in them refers to multiple people (like y’all), then the action of killing could indeed happen multiple times. The people warned would not know whether the threat was to kill everybody at once, maybe by detonating a bomb, or one by one over a period of time.

    If you can spare the time, I still hope you will locate and respond to my February 12, 2018, comment at 4:19 pm, especially the final paragraph. This issue may not be well settled before we also consider other angles.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Tom, you’re killing me dude. It doesn’t take a theological, or a college degree to comprehend that Adam became spiritually separated from God when he ate the fruit. Don’t think God was searching the Hebraic dictionary, to find the tense He needed to record, in order to differentiate the quantity of fruit Adam needed to eat, to determine the point of spiritual separation, in a young or old earth interpretation.

      • the Bill Furman says:

        I find it a bit ironic that day-age proponents have a problem with physical death beginning with Adam because he didn’t die on the day that he sinned by eating the fruit. If “day” is an indefinite period of time as used in Genesis 1 and 2, then Adam did die in the day that he ate the fruit. The “day” he ate the fruit and died was about 960 years. (I hope you recognize that was tongue-in-cheek.) Seriously though I posted some questions earlier and have not seen a response so I am including it again in this posting:
        I have never heard “day-age, spiritual death ONLY due to Adam’s sin” proponents give a convincing argument as to why Christ needed to die physically. It seems the debate between death as physical versus death as spiritual has polarized the issue of death from sin and the curse as though it were one or the other. I believe there are many strong implications that it was BOTH spiritual and definitely physical. If death was only spiritual, why did Christ have to be beaten and tortured physically and experience physical death to pay the penalty for sin? Why could He have not just died a spiritual death? Why is the essence of the sacrament of communion so about the physical elements representing the physical blood and body of the physical death of Christ? He died a physical death and was resurrected in a new physical body that we could have eternal life in a new physical body.
        As to the issue of “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” I believe day as it is used here in respect to physical death can be interpreted in much the same way as if I would say to a kidnapper who holds my family hostage, “the day you harm my family, you’re a dead man.” That does not necessarily mean that within the 24 hour period after my family is harmed that the perpetrator would be brought to justice. But the surety of the effect is confirmed the day of the cause. Also I think from the very outset, God, knowing that man would fall, shows His longsuffering mercy, delays the physical death penalty and substitutes animal sacrifices, physical animal death, as a substitute for physical human death?
        Also, what is spiritual in the curse itself in which God said, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return?”

  7. Tom Godfrey says:

    Barry Wadhams,

    When I submitted a comment last night, I had not yet seen yours. Thanks for agreeing with me about the proper interpretation of Gen. 2:17, but evidently, not everyone agrees that our interpretations should count as facts. I see that you contributed a couple of comments months ago, and I agree with what you said in them, too.

    If my ongoing three-way discussion with Mike and Jose seems like bickering to you, I hope it is not my fault. I want to discuss the proper interpretation of Gen. 2:17 rationally in an atmosphere of mutual respect. You are welcome to join the discussion too, as far as I am concerned. Can you explain and defend your own reasons for coming to the conclusion you just expressed? Can you also tell us about “the debate” that you mentioned? What do you think would help resolve it, if not this discussion?

    On the full inbox issue, you may need to delete some stuff. I ought to do this little job for my own inbox.

  8. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    Your comment reminded me of the verse that says, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure’” (Luke 10:21). Yes, even a child could understand the story in Genesis without wondering whether God lied to Adam by warning him that he would drop dead on the same day that he disobeyed by eating the forbidden fruit, if he dared to do this, because when Adam later ate the fruit anyway, he actually died hundreds of years later. I agree with you.

    The big idea behind my discussion with Mike is to try to settle whether there might be something about the grammatical construction of the Hebrew text that ought to rule out the way we understand the English translation. I remain convinced that a proper understanding of the Hebrew text of Gen. 2:16 with the very same construction suggests a good way to understand Gen. 2:17, as far as Hebrew technicalities are concerned. I suppose this discussion is what calls for advanced training and knowledge of Hebrew, so I would still like to see whether Mike can help us figure this out. In the meantime, personally, I am going with childlike faith in the holiness, faithfulness, and truthfulness of God.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      This is an English language issue, As, God recorded His words thru His chosen authors. That, in my opinion, is why this debate rages on.

  9. Barry Wadhams says:

    Tom, apologies, maybe bickering wasn’t quite the right word there. It Just seemed that it was a bit of a deadlock and the debate was going round and round a bit.
    I came to my conclusion from the fact that Adam didn’t physically die immediately and that other verses e.g. Ephesians 2v1 ‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins’ indicate there is a death other than physical. I take this as being a spiritual death based on the verses in John 3 v3-7 about the spirit being re-born.
    By ‘the debate’ I was just meaning the young or old earth debate. I believe that the earth was created in a literal 7 days about 7000 years or so ago. The day Adam was made he was 1 day old but physically he couldn’t have been so he had inherent age. In the same way I believe the earth had inherent age. Maybe the way to resolve this would be take what we read as truth (as a child would) and then find ways to verify the truth, rather than find ways to disprove it.
    BTW I have no expertise or training in Biblical Hebrew or any sciences so these views are acquired by just reading and studying the Bible over many years.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Barry, the seventh day has no morning or evening. Hebrews tells us that we’re still in God’s seventh day. You don’t need any knowledge in Hebrew to notice that it’s different from the previous six days of creation. So, the days of Creation are long periods of time.

      • Barry Wadhams says:

        Can’t quite see how you come to that conclusion. Genesis mentions no morning or evening for the seventh, eighth, ninth tenth…., but they still had them. It’s called a day the same as the others. Gen 1 v 14 says the lights are to mark times and days and years so I think days are as we know them now.
        God rested on the seventh day and is still in a state of rest. Hebrews tells us that as believers we can enter this same state and rest from our work. It also indicates that Israel could have achieved that rest in the promised land but failed because of disobedience.

      • the Bill Furman says:

        We sure do complicate things when trying to reconcile the Bible with natural scientific theories! In the early days of my life, I created a computer controlled automation science project. The first day of creating the project, I got up in the morning and went right to work in drawing up the mechanical and electrical design. I went to bed that night. On the second day, I got up in the morning and made the foundation upon which to place the mechanical and electrical components. I went to bed that night. On the third day, I got up in the morning and made the mechanical components. I went to bed that night. On the fourth day, I got up in the morning and made the electrical components. I went to bed that night. On the fifth day, I got up in the morning and made the mechanical and electrical assemblies, fastened them to the foundation, and interconnected them. I went to bed that night. On the sixth day, I got up in the morning and made the computer and connected it to the other components. I went to bed that night. On the seventh day, having completed the project, I ceased to do any more science project creativity. I saw that it was very good (In fact I took regional awards for the project) and so I celebrated my accomplishment. The seventh day was special but ended even though I did not mention getting up in the morning or going to bed that night. In context, you knew the seventh day began and ended. With the pattern, at most you might have had suspicions about the length of the seventh day had I said I got up in the morning of the seventh day but did not say I went to bed that night. So in six days I made my project and on the seventh day, I celebrated and rested. It has been approximately 20,075 days since then.

      • the Bill Furman says:

        When does the solar 24 hour day have an effect in Biblical usage? I know it is stated that it was initiated on the fourth day, but when is it practically used? Since it was not until the fourth day that the sun and moon were made for “days”, etc., day-age proponents say that days 1 through 3 could not be 24 hour days. But what is the significance of day 4 if day-age proponents also say that days 5 and 6 could not be 24 hour days for various reasons and that day 7 has not ended?

  10. Tom Godfrey says:

    Barry Wadhams,

    No need to apologize. I understand that discussions like the one Mike and I have had can make some people feel uncomfortable, and you may be a case in point. I appreciate your being willing to bear with us.

    I agree with your analysis that invokes an immediate spiritual death followed inevitably by a physical death, which in Adam’s case came hundreds of years later. It is still not clear to me that Mike rejects this analysis. Maybe he does. Maybe he does not. I think his focus has been on Hebrew language issues, which is evidently his field of expertise. At some point, it would be nice to relate those languages issues to real life in a reasonable resolution of our discussion, if possible. If it is purely academic, what’s the point?

    I also agree with your position in “the debate” about the true age of the earth, but I find the old/young labels misleading, so I tend to avoid them. By a well-established convention, we may be labeled “young earth creationists” as though we believe the earth is young or at an early stage in a slow process of growing toward maturity. We actually believe that nothing in all of creation is older than the earth, and we reject the idea that it has been slowly evolving from a cloud of dust and gas to become the marvelous planet that we now inhabit. This real young-earth idea seems to be popular among atheists, who believe that the earth is much younger (billions of years younger!) than the oldest galaxies in the universe.

    Yes, let’s “take what we read as truth (as a child would) and then find ways to verify the truth, rather than find ways to disprove it.” Well said. There are people intent on developing a history of our origins based on a study of physical evidence alone, interpreted under a no-miracle presupposition. To the extent that their tentative speculation can be shown to be problematic, even with their own approach (methodological materialism), I think we should be willing to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15-16).

    • Barry Wadhams says:

      Yes, I can’t see how anything could ever have evolved into the beauty of what we see now. Even though marred, it is still wondrous.
      Now if only I can figure out how Jacob ended up with speckled sheep by placing peeled branches in watering troughs as in Genesis 30 v 37, then I may be some way towards getting Perry’s prize for finding the hidden code in DNA.

  11. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose, Lopez,

    Barry Wadhams already made a good case against your idea that “we’re still in God’s seventh day” if you meant to refer to Day 7 of Creation Week. I agree with his comment about this. You had told him, “…the seventh day has no morning or evening,” but to be consistent with this way of reasoning, you would have to conclude that the trees created on Day 3 had no sap, roots, bark, trunk, twigs, leaves, or branches, because none of these parts of a tree are mentioned.

    As Barry already pointed out, the “rest” discussed in Hebrews is distinct from the day in history referenced in Heb. 4:4. Besides this, if Day 7 never ended, the Sabbath commands in Ex. 20:8-11 and 31:12-17 could reasonably be interpreted to mean that man must work for six days (or “long periods of time”?) and then stop working for the rest of his life to observe his Sabbath, as God had been doing. That’s nonsense, right?

    People who like the day-age theory and conclude that “the days of Creation are long periods of time” explain that those Sabbath commands refer to Creation only to make the point that God established a cycle of work and rest for man in a 6:1 ratio, but if in fact each of the days in the pattern is a long period of time or an age of unspecified length, then there is no way to use the pattern to figure a fixed ratio. The time on the “work” side has no length specified, and the length of time on the “rest” side keeps changing.

    Of course, the big idea behind the day-age theory is not really to understand the true or intended meaning of Genesis 1 in isolation. It is to accommodate the millions and billions of years that modern scientists recommend accepting as part of the true history of our origins. Each “day” or “age” can then be interpreted as a long period of time during which certain things evolved. For example, Day 3 could be the age during which plants and trees evolved. The problem with this idea is that Day 7 has not even started yet. Evolution never stopped. By the day-age theory, the days or ages of creation overlap. God is supposed to be creating new trees (Day 3) and stars (Day 4) right now, for example. That’s nonsense, right? According to Genesis and Exodus, God finished his work of creation and later cursed it (Genesis 3). It is only the presently cursed creation that scientists get to study now.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Tom, God did not create stars on day four. He created stars when he brought our universe into existence. Astronomical research has already shown us this. Without those stars in the beginning, you and I would not be having this conversation.

      • Barry Wadhams says:

        Jose, Genesis tells us that God made stars on day four. As a Christian I believe this writing was given by God for someone, possibly Moses to write down for our benefit. I haven’t followed all your comments on here, but do you believe that God gave us this history? If you do, why do you say stars were created when he brought the universe into existence rather than day four?
        Without God in the beginning we wouldn’t be having this conversation, not sure the stars have anything to do with that.

        • Jose Lopez says:

          Barry, the stars were created, or brought into existence, when God created our universe, which is day one. Astronomical research tells us that without stars in the beginning of time and space, we wouldn’t be able to sustain advanced life. Those are the facts.

          • Gordon Sun says:

            What about the second and third generations stars—born out of first generation stars’ supernovae—that are needed to produce metals to sustain advance life figure in to all this? In order to have second and third generations of stars there needs to be billions of years. This would rule out young Earth creationism.

            • Barry Wadhams says:

              Gordon, what do you mean ‘metals to sustain advanced life’?
              I don’t know much about ‘generations’ of stars. How do you tell if a star is first or second generation?

              • Gordon Sun says:

                Barry, there are three generations of stars so far. The first generation of stars (or Type III stars) were made of pristine hydrogen and helium with very little deuterium (exotic hydrogen) from the Big Bang. As these stars fuse helium and hydrogen in its burning process additional elements (astronomers consider anything heavier than helium “metals”) were created in their core. And as they exhaust all their fuel, some explode as supernovae and spread these metals which later coalescing with other debris and primordial gasses to form the second generation of stars (or Type II stars) through the same nucleosythesis process. In their core more metal elements are fused and created… and the same cycle repeats to create third generation (Type I) stars, which our sun is among them. This is verifiable through spectrum analysis of stars, which we can observe any star’s metallicity. The fact that it takes between millions to billions of years to go through a generation, the universe must be much much older.

                And this is one of the main reasons I am not a young earth creationist—based on cosmology and cosmogony, it makes no sense (not to mention observational science) to insist that the earth was created prior to the creation of any stars.

          • Barry Wadhams says:

            Jose, can you give me a link for this astronomical research.
            If I decide to believe in God then I also need to decide to believe what he tells us. God created stars etc and therefore our universe on day four. Then everything is in place for when he makes man for which I believe everything else exists. This of course means that at first there was the heavens devoid of stars, the earth, empty and void and the Holy Spirit hovering.

            • Jose Lopez says:

              Barry, I think the issue of Biblical interpretation is an English language issue. Biblical Hebrew, without names, and pronouns, etc, is about three thousand words, of almost every one of those words having multiple, literal meanings. I’m not speaking of modern-day Hebrew. So, you have to account for the Hebrew word Yom, translated day, in English. It has four, different, literal meanings: part of the daylight hours, all of the daylight hours, a 24- hour day, or a long, finite period of time. Also, the Hebrew word Bara is tranlated to create something brand new that’s never been there before, and finally the Hebrew word Asah is translated something that was already made, or there. Young Earthers will tell you they mean the same thing, as it’s a way around the fact that they’re wrong, which many mean Old Earthers are correct. The truth is they’re two different words, which God uses in two, different, contextual meanings. So, you must understand that God gave us His Scripture and the “book of nature”, better known as the scientific record, in all disciplines of science.

    • Mike Tisdell says:

      “People who like the day-age theory and conclude that “the days of Creation are long periods of time” explain that those Sabbath commands refer to Creation only to make the point that God established a cycle of work and rest for man in a 6:1 ratio, but if in fact each of the days in the pattern is a long period of time or an age of unspecified length, then there is no way to use the pattern to figure a fixed ratio. The time on the “work” side has no length specified, and the length of time on the “rest” side keeps changing.”

      The problem with this theory is that anyone who has read the writings of the Early Church knows that a number of them believed in a day age theory, and still had absolutely no problem reconciling that belief with the understanding that it modeled a 7 day work week. This frequently repeated argument is entirely without merit when we study the writings of those who historically closest to the NT period.

      More importantly, when we look at those in the early church, we find that this was not a doctrinal issue that mattered much to them; while leaders disagreed on this issue, this wasn’t an issue that they were prepared to divide over.

  12. Tom Godfrey says:

    Barry Wadhams,

    People may assume that Gen. 30:37-43 refers to a natural animal husbandry technique that anyone can use at any time and expect the same results that Jacob enjoyed. However, I would not rule out the possibility that God was behind his success, working miraculously on his behalf, whether our text actually states this or not. Notice what Jacob said about this to his wives Gen. (31:4-13).

    • Barry Wadhams says:

      I was drawn to this passage after reading Perry’s challenge, without really knowing why.
      I don’t know if this is a natural animal husbandry technique? I can’t imagine it working without divine intervention?
      Reading 31:14 I see that God was letting Jacob know what would happen. It doesn’t say the Angel gave him instructions on what to do. Just seemed odd that he needed any striped branches when he could have just let the striped sheep mate.

  13. Tom Godfrey says:

    Barry Wadhams,

    I assume you meant to refer to Gen. 31:12 (not 14). Right, we have an account of what Jacob did and of his story to his wives about what he saw and heard from the Angel in his dream or vision, but we are left with questions that can be answered only with guesses. It is not clear to me that Jacob really needed to do anything himself, if it really was God who was behind it all, but on the other hand, for all we know, he was only doing what God had told him to do, and the tricks with the branches were simply a test of his faith and obedience. Who knows? If there was any miracle or divine intervention involved, this story may not help you win Marshall Perry’s prize for “naturally occurring code.”

  14. Tom Godfrey says:

    Mike Tisdell,

    Thanks for your reply to my February 25, 2018, comment. Does this mean that you have no more to say here about the proper interpretation of the infinitive absolute constructions in Gen. 2:16-17? Or did I overlook one of your comments? The last exchange I found on the older topic was your February 17, 2018, comment at 10:48 am and my reply to it four days later at 10:33 pm.

    You said, “This frequently repeated argument is entirely without merit when we study the writings of those who [were] historically closest to the NT period,” and I assume that you referred to my “argument” that you quoted. If I misunderstood, please clarify. Otherwise, I would be very interested in knowing how early church leaders reconciled their belief that the days in Genesis 1 were ages of unspecified length with their understanding that those days modeled a 7-day work week.

    I do not dispute your claim that some of those leaders accepted some form of the day-age theory, but I wonder whether they even attempted a reconciliation with the Sabbath commandments. If they did, I wonder how they figured a 6:1 time ratio based on their reading of Genesis 1 and 2. Did their day-age theory allow or call for overlapping days?

    More importantly, if the references to Creation Week in Ex. 20:11 and 31:17 provided a model for the Israelite work week, I would like to know how those commandments could have been enforced, if the day-age theory was considered at least one possible and reasonable interpretation of the Creation account. Could a Sabbath-breaker argue that he was in compliance after all since each “day” of his work lasted about ten years, and he intended to observe his Sabbath “day” about the time he retired? Do you suppose an Israelite judge would have had to agree that this arrangement must be permissible under the law, considering the example that God had set? Could a worker argue that each of his “days” was supposed to last a thousand years, just like each “day” in Creation Week?

    You give more weight to interpretations in “the writings of those who [were] historically closest to the NT period,” right? Do you know how well they understood Hebrew and thought through the issues? You surely ought to give even more weight to the interpretations of people much closer to the time when Genesis was written. Personally, I am interested in sound reasoning, not so much in appeals to authority, so if even you can tell me how you get a 6:1 ratio from any modern day-age theory, or if you can explain clearly why my argument has no merit, I would still be interested for sure.

    Obviously, if each “day” had one fixed length that could serve as a unit of time (regardless of whether the unit was 24 hours, 1000 years, or even much longer) and if Day 7 was completed in the same unit of time, then this scheme provides the conventional 6:1 ratio, but who still holds any variation of the day-age theory that fits this description?

    I have been reading Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2.0 book, and I can see that at least his version of the theory certainly does not qualify. After citing Ex. 31:16-17, he wrote, “However, the command in Exodus is not about the length of days, it’s about the pattern of work and rest. … We’re in the seventh day now” (p. 319). We agree that the commands do not address the length of the days mentioned. That’s because the “six days” in Ex. 20:9 and 31:15 were and still are assumed to have exactly the same length as the “six days” in Ex. 20:11 and 31:17, regardless of the language of your Bible. Their length was and still is too obvious to require clarification, and the seventh day was and still is assumed to have the same length as each of the others. There is no good reason for day length to be an issue there.

    Those Sabbath commands would have been unenforceable under Perry’s hopefully convenient interpretation, because in that case, the only usable “pattern of work and rest” that Genesis provides would be, “Work as long as you please and then rest.” This is not rocket science. Maybe someone here can explain why any day-age theory should be seriously considered biblical in light of those commands in Exodus.

    • Mike Tisdell says:

      Tom Godfrey, you said “Thanks for your reply to my February 25, 2018, comment. Does this mean that you have no more to say here about the proper interpretation of the infinitive absolute constructions in Gen. 2:16-17? Or did I overlook one of your comments?”

      You see to keep wanting to return to the idea that the addition of the infinitive absolute in this verse changes the meaning to that of a continuing action, it doesn’t. I have already provided ample evidence from Hebrew scholarship to demonstrate this.

  15. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    You said, “God did not create stars on day four.” I too am interested in your answer to the great questions that Barry asked you about this, but I have two more for you on the same topic. You went on to say, “Astronomical research has already shown us” that God “created stars when he brought our universe into existence.”

    First, what astronomical research were you talking about? Please explain it in your own words or include a link to an explanatory article.

    As you know, there are at least two approaches to learning the history of origins, whether it is the origin of humans or the origin of stars. Some people trust modern experts to develop a tentative and speculative history based on their study of currently available physical evidence interpreted under the no-miracle presupposition. Some of us prefer the normal approach to learning about history. We read history books based on a collection and summary of testimony deemed credible, and we may consider Genesis to be in this category. So here’s my second question for you. Which approach do you prefer? If it is not too much trouble, you might also explain why you prefer it.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Well, for a little more detail in day four. Scripture says God had made the moon and stars and they’re to serve for seasons and days, which is a reference to our common 24- hour day. It did not say He created. The difference is in Biblical Hebrew the word for made is Asah, which means something that was already made, or already there. That’s a huge contextual issue among young earth creationists. They believe it means He created them on day four. So, what happened on day four was that God transformed our atmosphere from translucent to transparent. Now, the light from these sources can be seen on the surface of planet Earth, which lines up God’s next job. Mainly, day five and six where he creates animal and human life, which need these light sources for their biological clocks. The issue with young Earthers is that they’re fixed on “millions of years” and they’re attempting to teach our young people that millions of years means evolution and naturalism and they’re saying that God provided the light in Genesis day one. Last time I checked we can’t have light on planet Earth without the sun, moon and stars. As a matter of fact, we can’t have life unless the sun, moon and stars were already there in preparation for advanced life on this planet we live on. Hope that helps. As far as resources, you can Google most of this stuff, or you can YouTube Hugh Ross debates Ken Ham. It’s an excellent debate on the young earth interpretation and the old earth interpretation. You can decide for yourself. Just a final note, I prefer the history of our universe. But, you’ll quickly realize that the history of our universe and the history of life are integrated because they come from the same Biblical God, Jesus Christ.

      • Mike Tisdell says:

        Jose, You said: “Scripture says God had made the moon and stars and they’re to serve for seasons and days, which is a reference to our common 24- hour day. It did not say He created. The difference is in Biblical Hebrew the word for made is Asah, which means something that was already made, or already there.”

        This is simply untrue! The words, “made” and “create” are used interchangeably. And as I pointed out in the other response, often in the same verses i.e. Gen. 1:26-27, 2:4, 5:1-2,6:7; Exod. 34:10; Isa. 41:20, 43:7

        If I say in Hebrew: עשיתי את השולחן הזה ביום שלישי

        It means: I made this table on Tuesday, plain and simple. The use of עשה (made) is the normal way of saying this, and in no circumstance would anyone understood the table to have already been made before Tuesday because I used the word עשה.

  16. Barry Wadhams says:

    Jose, There may be different meanings for Yom but in this context the Yom is marked by an ‘evening and morning’. Day two God made the expanse and called it heaven and it divided the waters. No mention of stars being placed in the expanse until day four when God said ‘let there be lights…’ Then God ‘made’ two great lights… he made the stars also’
    Day five and six the same pattern happened, God said ‘let there be…’ and then he created and made what he had spoken.
    I don’t see anything in there that indicates translucent to transparent, can you explain where you see this?
    God did create the light first in Genesis one, without any sun or moon. It is a mystery which I take to mean there is more to light than just what the sun and moon give. I lost you a bit in your comments beginning from ‘The issue with young earthers is that they are fixed on ‘millions of years… ‘ I thought it was the old earthers who were teaching millions of years and evolution?
    At this point in time i’m going with literal days not long ages. All created by Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      So, Barry, what about no evening or morning for day seven?

      • Barry Wadhams says:

        There was no need to mention it, the same as there was no need to mention day 8 and ever after that. Morning and evening still happens to this very day.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Barry, here are a few typical young earth interpretations, in no particular order:
      *24-hour days marked by evening and morning followed by a number
      *A global flood
      *Dinosaurs lived amongst Adam and Eve
      *No animal death before sin
      *God provided the light on day one because He created the sun, moon and stars on day four
      *Adam and Eve were vegetarian
      *The universe groaned at the fall of Adam
      *Genesis genealogies justify a 6,000 year-old earth

      Do you agree with any of these interpretations?

      • Barry Wadhams says:

        Yes with a couple of minor changes,
        ‘God created the light on day one and then He created the sun, moon and stars on day four’
        ‘Genesis genealogies indicate a 6,000 year-old earth’

    • Mike Tisdell says:

      Barry Wadmans, it is important to understand how much most English translations “fix” the text of Genesis 1 to smooth out some of the inherent difficulties. The NASB does a good job of retaining those difficulties, so I will present their translation.

      And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

      And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

      There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

      There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

      There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

      And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

      By the seventh day God completed His work

      Then God blessed the seventh day

      Let’s take a look at several issues:

      1) Note that the definite article (the) is not included with any designation of “day” before the 6th day, but is included for day six and day seven. Most translation include the article in English for all seven days, but that is not how it is written in the Hebrew text; in Hebrew it is clearly absent until the 6th day.

      2) While many translations translate יום אחד as “day one” or even worse “the first day,” this is not what the text says. In Hebrew, like Spanish, the adjective follows the noun. For example, if I say “White house” in Spanish it is “casa blanca” (house white) and in Hebrew it is “בית לבן” (house white), similarly, if I want to say “one day” in Hebrew, I say “יום אחד”. The very next instance where “יום אחד” is used is found in Ge. 27:45, let’s take a look at how it is translated by the same translators that used “the first day” in Ge. 1:5:

      Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?” (Gen. 27:45 ESV)
      Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?” (Gen. 27:45 KJV)
      Why should I lose both of you in one day? (Gen. 27:45 NIV)
      Why should I lose both of you in one day? (Gen. 27:45 NLT)

      If the author had wanted to convey the idea of “the first day” in Hebrew, he would have written “היום הראשון”. While “one day” may refer to “the first day” of creation, that is interpretive choice that is not explicitly conveyed in the Hebrew text and the ambiguity in the Hebrew text that would have been seen much more clearly by those in the early church who didn’t have our English translations. This may explain why they chose not divide on these issues while, sadly, too often those in the Church today do.
      3) The only other place in the entire OT where the word ‘yom’ is used with a number and ‘evening’ is in Zach. 14:7, a passage that refers to an eternal day. And there are places where a ‘yom’ and a number is used that mean periods of time longer than “24 hours.” For example, in 2 Chr. 21:19, every English translation that I have ever read translates “‎יָמִ֣ים שְׁנַ֗יִם” (“two days”) as “two years” and their translation is correct because ‘yom’ with a number doesn’t always refer to a 24 hour day. This was understood by the early church who often viewed the days of creation as thousand year periods, and they were much closer to the language and culture to which these books were first addressed; some could read biblical Hebrew while it was still a living language.

      • Barry Wadhams says:

        Thanks Mike for this background and I understand all you say.
        I guess that the absence of ‘the’ is worth noting but in total there were still 7 days mentioned (without specifying how long the day was). Taken in context, verse 1 says ‘in the beginning’ so can we understand from the Hebrew that there was nothing happening in a period of time between the beginning and the creation of light on the first day? In other words are the seven days mentioned, a description of what happened in the very beginning? If so then doesn’t the length of days hinge on the interpretation of evening and morning? Is there anything anywhere else in Hebrew which could shed light on what evening followed by morning means.

  17. Tom Godfrey says:

    Gordon Sun,

    Thanks for bringing up the issue of metals from stars. Have you seen this?
    This is a fairly recent article that might be refuted at some point, but if this is a topic that interests you, I have a question for you. In theory, no stars existed at first, immediately after the Big Bang. Do you know of a theory of stellar evolution that can account for the appearance of the first star in any location without a previously existing star that had become a nova capable of compressing dust and gas sufficiently to form a dense core and protostar?

  18. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    Thanks for your prompt answer to my comment this afternoon. Sometimes comments pass moderation fast enough for prompt replies, and sometimes they do not.

    You just told me that you “prefer the history of our universe,” but I think you misunderstood my question. I did not ask which history you prefer or from whom histories came but rather which “approach” to learning the history of our origins you prefer. Do you turn to scientists as your highest authority or to Genesis? Once you understand the question and settle on your answer, I would also be interested in knowing the reason for your choice. Of course, you also have an option to keep this to yourself. Maybe I am asking questions that are too personal or embarrassing.

    You also declined to point Barry and me to the “astronomical research” for which we had requested a link or explanation in your own words, but it looks as though Gordon Sun stepped up to the challenge for you. I think he believes that life on earth could not exist unless heavy elements (necessary for life as we know it) had already been produced in stars, as though God could not possibly create them ex nihilo. If this is not what you had in mind, please clarify your claim. A link to an article explaining this would still be really helpful.

    Your idea that God made or created nothing new on Day 4 is not a new one. Perry Marshall expresses the same idea on page 313 of his book, Evolution 2.0. One problem with this idea is that Genesis does not say that God just allowed clouds to thin or clear up enough for the sun, moon, and stars to become visible on the surface of the earth for the first time on Day 4. Are you suggesting that God rested on Day 4 too? The clearing sky idea is what could be described as eisegesis, reading into scripture what one wants it to mean instead of trying to understand what it actually says.

    Genesis certainly does not say that God created the sun, moon, and stars on Day 1, whether you believe this or not. That was the day on which God said, “Let there be light,” and this was the same light that he separated from the initial darkness and called “day” (Gen. 1:4-5). No source of this light was specified. We can only speculate about its source and nature. Whatever it was, according to Gen. 1:5, it was at least temporarily adequate for beginning the day/night cycle.

    We certainly can have light on planet earth without sunlight, moonlight, or starlight. Otherwise, I would be sitting in the dark right now, right here on planet earth. The last time you checked was thousands of years after God created enough light to make the first day. Remember that nothing is too hard for God (Jer. 32:17).

    You mentioned that Day 4 was designed to prepare for “animal and human life, which need these light sources for their biological clocks.” What about the plant life that began to exist on Day 3? You believe this “day” was a long age of unspecified length too, right? How do you suppose the plants avoided being etiolated?

    Your resistance to the idea that “millions of years means evolution and naturalism” puzzles me. If you believe in millions of years without evolution and naturalism, where did you get the idea that we have millions of years of history? Was it not from the modern experts who put them into their story full of evolution and naturalism? If you can reject the evolution and naturalism that they teach, why not also reject the millions of years idea as well? Who needs them? Do you believe that God is still making stars now as he did during Creation Week? In other words, did God ever finish making stars so he could finally rest?

    On the Hebrew word for made, I think someone must have pulled the wool over your eyes. I just mentioned Jer. 32:17, where Jeremiah acknowledged that God had made the heaves and the earth, but Gen. 1:1 states that God created them. Was Jeremiah mistaken? Well, not really. Someone has invented a distinction that is not well grounded in a study of the Bible. Here is an article that explains this issue in much more detail.
    Where is Mike Tisdell when we need him?

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Tom, maybe I missed something but you didn’t comment on the distinction between the Hebrew words Bara and Asah. The Scriptures were not originally recorded in the English language. Biblical Hebrew was a very small language in comparison to the English language, which contains millions of words. This is very important. Also, Terry Mortenson,with all due respect, is a joke,and he does not represent my Christian faith. He’s holds a literal interpretation (a young earth interpretation) of God’s Word. His interpretation does withstand Biblical Hebrew, and much of the scientific record. Again, there’s no special link to astronomical research documents that can provide anybody some basic information on the Big Bang or the Anthropic Principle. Your Google bar is a wonderful tool. I did mention earlier in my responses about a debate between Ken Ham/ Jason Lisle and Hugh Ross/ Walter Kaiser. You can YouTube that video, if you so desire. I believe in the inerrant Word of God and the scientific record of nature. My faith has nothing to do with evolution or naturalism.

      • Jose Lopez says:

        Correction: does not withstand Biblical Hebrew or much of the scientific record. Excuse my typing. Not one of my strengths.

  19. Tom Godfrey says:

    Gordon Sun,

    Thanks for the link to the interesting “Reasons to Believe” article on the rarity of supernovas in our vicinity. Your comment was a little surprising, however. I thought you might have some comment about the ICR article on the source of heavy metals, since you brought up the topic. Your article does not even mention metals. Besides this, I thought you might have heard of some theory of stellar evolution with a reasonable explanation for the origin of the first star to appear in the universe, but you must have drawn a blank on that. That’s okay, of course. Your earlier comment just gave me the idea that this might be a topic of interest to you. Personally, I accept Gen. 1:14-19 as an adequate explanation for the first star.

    • Gordon Sun says:

      Tom, first, I was typing on my phone so I didn’t want to get into lengthy posts. Perhaps I will respond to the metallicity issue later.Second, seeing all the bantering back and forth, I wasn’t interested in getting into the weeds… all I wanted to do is share that based on the generations of stars it takes to sustain advanced life, a literary 24-hr interpretation of the creation account seems improbable.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Excuse me: Gordon.

  20. Tom Godfrey says:

    Jose Lopez,

    Typing is not one of my strengths either. No need to apologize. I actually realized what you meant to say, even before I saw your correction.

    Actually, I did “comment on the distinction between the Hebrew words Bara and Asah” by pointing you to Gen. 1:1 (where the Hebrew text has *bara*) and Jer. 32:17 (where the Hebrew text has a form of *asah*). Maybe I did not make it clear enough that those verbs are evidently used interchangeably in the same context, so I said you learned to make an invented distinction “that is not well grounded in a study of the Bible.” You were supposed to refer to the Mortenson article for a more detailed rationale behind my conclusion.

    If you disagree, still standing by the distinction you claimed earlier, and you hope to convince me, then you need more than an ad hominem argument (“Terry Mortenson, with all due respect, is a joke”), an unsubstantiated claim (“His interpretation does not withstand Biblical Hebrew or much of the scientific record”), and possibly a suggestion that Hebrew vocabulary is too impoverished to afford such near synonyms. Maybe the only distinction that can be well defended is that *bara* refers to something that only God can do, while *asah* refers to something that either God or man can do. This is all explained in the Mortenson article. If you disagree, please focus on the issues covered in the article, then explain why certain points are wrong, point me to more information that Mortenson overlooked, or do whatever else you need to do to build a rational case for your own conclusion. Let’s be reasonable.

    The article is all about understanding the meaning of two Hebrew words based on a study of biblical texts, so “the scientific record” was ignored as irrelevant, as it should be. The big idea should be to understand what the Bible says, not to squeeze certain biblical texts into some convenient mold demanded by a fashionable interpretation of currently available physical evidence.

    I understand that you want me to use Google to find articles that support your position, but this is crazy. How in the world would I know which ones are good in your opinion? Remember that you started this by saying, “Astronomical research tells us that without stars in the beginning of time and space, we wouldn’t be able to sustain advanced life. Those are the facts.” With all due respect, I am not just taking your word for it. If you cannot defend your own claim or refute my points, and if you have no link to recommend either, that’s okay, but you should realize that an unsubstantiated claim is no good reason to reject the interpretation that God created stars on Day 4.

    Perhaps in response to my question about your highest authority with regard to the history of our origins, you said, “I believe in the inerrant Word of God and the scientific record of nature,” without telling me which one you consider to be the higher authority. Are you suggesting that “the scientific record of nature” is equally inerrant? You should realize that nature never tells a story about origins without some fallible human having to interpret physical evidence after making assumptions that may or may not be correct. Scientists change their minds and do not necessarily even agree among themselves. This should be a good reason to consider “the inerrant Word of God” to be your highest authority, but it is your call, of course.

    • Jose Lopez says:

      Tom, I feel it pointless to continue with you and going back and forth. Seems nothing will change. However, just want to clarify Genesis 1:14: God said let there be. It does not say He created, nor is the word Bara used in the original Hebrew. It also says: so they may serve as lights to mark days, seasons and years. It’s very simple, Tom. It does not take a college degree, or a theological degree, to comprehend those words. It does take quite an effort to retract any previous interpretation. That’s not an easy thing. But, to ignore basic, simple, elementary astronomical truths, such as how our universe came into existence…….well that’s just unfortunate. You seem pretty intelligent. Anybody can Google the Big Bang and the Anthropic Principle. You don’t need a link from me to find that information, and you don’t need a link from me to justify your disagreements with me. If you’re concerned about credentials, you already have a fine choice in Hugh Ross’ Reasons To Believe for any information on astronomical research, for starters. You also have Walter Kaiser as a solid theological resource. You’re already knowledgeable from the young earth perspective. Seems like you’re good to go. I’m not one to be offended easily. It comes with the faith. Don’t assume that long periods of time is beyond God’s plan when He decided to create our universe. I think the question we need to ask is how did that look? Nowhere in the Bible does it say the days of creation were twenty-four hour days. That’s a literal, interpretive assumption. God’s not a magician. He didn’t hold up a gigantic flashlight shining down on Earth for the first three days. We all have common sense to figure that out. If that’s not good enough for you, Tom. Then, Google it, dude. I had a great time conversing with you.

      • Mike Tisdell says:

        Jose Lopez, you said: “just want to clarify Genesis 1:14: God said let there be. It does not say He created, nor is the word Bara used in the original Hebrew. It also says: so they may serve as lights to mark days, seasons and years. It’s very simple, Tom. It does not take a college degree, or a theological degree, to comprehend those words.”

        While the word ברא is not used in Ge. 14, the word עשה is used in Ge. 1:16 when he describes making these lights. ברא and עשה are used interchangeably in Biblical Hebrew (often in the same verses). Here are a few examples:

        Gen. 1:26-27, 2:4, 5:1-2,6:7
        Exod. 34:10
        Isa. 41:20, 43:7

        While the idea that God may have already created the lights is a possible interpretation, basing this interpretation on the choice of vocabulary used in these verses is a completely invalid argument that would not be accepted within Hebrew scholarship.

        • Jose Lopez says:

          Mike, I would disagree about not accepted. Biblical Hebrew contained about three thousand words. I’m not speaking of modern-day Hebrew. Gleason Archer and Walter Kaiser are very credible Hebrew scholars that distinguish Biblical Hebrew from modern-day Hebrew. Research goes a long way. The Bible commands us to test everything. I’d say that includes theological sources. If you’re going to defend your interpretation, research credible scholars. We need to research God’s Scriptures and His evidence of His creation. Most will call that the scientific record.

          • Mike Tisdell says:

            Jose Lopez,

            I think you may be confusing Hebrew roots (which would be approximately 3000) with Hebrew words which number over 10,000. A check of any Biblical Hebrew Lexicon will quickly verify the fact Biblical Hebrew far more than 3,000 words. Additionally, because of the way that roots are used in Semitic languages, a working vocabulary of 10,000+ words is equivalent to 20,000+ words in languages like English.

            On the other hand English has just over 1,000,000 words (not 4,000,000) but if we were to limit the count only to “roots” we would need to reduce the count by magnitudes because many English words share the same root i.e. see, saw, seeing, seen would have a single root.

            Neither Walter Kaiser nor Gleason Archer would support the idea that there were only 3,000 words in Biblical Hebrew because I am positive that both of these men would have resources would have ad resources like HALOT, BDB, NIDOTTE on their bookshelves.

            For comparison, my Modern Hebrew dictionary has about 40,000 words with a vocabulary equivalent to about 80,000 – 100,000 English words.

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