Young earth, old universe
The Bible tells us that the earth was created only a few thousand years ago. The creation took six days.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Each day consisted of an evening and a morning and had a period of light and one of darkness. Those who believe the earth is old correctly point out the the word “day” can mean a long period of time but the description of the creation days makes it clear they were literal days.
Most people believe that science has proved that the earth is much older than the Bible says it is. The problem with this belief is that the research supporting this belief begins by assuming that God has never intervened in the natural processes that are at work. This assumption leads to a false interpretation of the data. I have written about this here:
There is one question that needs to be answered.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.
And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Many stars are so far away it takes the light from them millions and even billions of years to reach earth. How can we see them if they were created only a few thousand years ago?
If you read the Bible account carefully you will see that it says that God placed lights in the sky, not that he created the bodies that were the source of those lights. There were three days and three nights before this. That proves that the sun already existed. We have all experienced times when the sky was covered with clouds that kept us from seeing the sun but still allowed light to reach the ground. A condition like this must have existed during the first three days of the earth’s creation. On the fourth day the cloud cover was removed so the sun, moon, and stars could be seen.
The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to the children of man.
Since the earth is the only part of creation that has been given to us it is reasonable that it is the only part whose creation is described.
The universe is much older than the earth but there is evidence that it isn’t as old as most people believe. You can find some of that evidence in the January 2011 issue of Answers Magazine. You can read the magazine online here.
The universe didn’t begin with the Big Bang; it was created by God. He just hasn’t revealed to us when or how he created it.
The age of the earth and the age of the universe are two separate subjects. Belief in a young earth and a young universe creates the problem of how we can see distant stars. Belief in an old earth and an old universe contradicts the plain teaching of the Bible. Belief in a young earth and an old universe presents no Biblical or scientific difficulties.
Since I wrote this post someone has pointed out a verse that seems to show that the whole universe was created during the six days:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
I have written a post showing why this verse doesn’t contradict what I have written here: