Some Christians believe that Genesis 1–11—the story of the creation, flood and tower of Babel— are symbolic, and the events didn’t really happen the way the Bible plainly describes them. No doubt many of these individuals are sincere and searching for the truth, while others have just gone along with what they’ve learned in school without putting much thought into the matter.
A couple theories try to fit billions of years into the Genesis account.
- The Day-Age Theory suggests that the days described in Genesis 1 were long periods of time. Many who adhere to this theory, including Hugh Ross, believe that the flood wasn’t global.
- The Gap Theory proposes that there was a long period of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. During this time, Satan fell, and the dinosaurs were created, lived and went extinct.
Some Christians try to combine evolution with those theories; some don’t. Some believe this first section of the Bible is merely a nice story and chose to believe in evolution. What they may not realize is that evolution is filled with blatant flaws, and that the theory and the Bible are mutually exclusive. Genesis 1 tells us that God created birds on day five and reptiles on day six—the exact opposite of evolution.
I think that the vast majority of those who believe any of the old Earth theories have more faith in science than the Bible. Because of that, they try to make the Bible fit with their beliefs, not recognizing the importance of conforming one’s beliefs to God’s Word.
We have an inerrant book that tells us how old the Earth is. We need to figure out what it tells us and believe it. There are plenty of hints elsewhere in the Bible, including Jesus’ words. I trust Jesus for my eternity, and I trust what He says about the age of the earth. He wasn’t just present when it was all created, He is the Creator (Colossians 1:16).
In Mark 10:6, Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” This means that at the beginning of creation, God created a human male and a human female. With this one sentence, Jesus rules out all old Earth theories—and evolution.
Elsewhere in the Bible, the events in Genesis 1–11 are referred to as historical fact. Jesus referred to Noah’s flood in Matthew 24:37–39, as does Hebrews 11:7, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:5, and several other places in the Old Testament. If you believe Zechariah was a real person, you must believe Adam and Eve had a son named Abel, since Jesus refers to Zechariah and Abel in the same breath in Luke 11:50–51. In the midst of giving Moses the Ten Commandments, the Lord repeats that everything was created in six days (see Exodus 20:11).
The old Earth theories simply make no sense. Anyone who simply reads Genesis with no bias would reach the conclusion that the creation is very young. When you take the clear teaching of the rest of the Bible, there is simply no basis for anything but a young earth. The Bible simply knows nothing of the old Earth theories, and forges on with the unpopular notion that the earth was created in six literal days about 6,000 years ago.