Founding Principles of Geocreationism, pt. 3
Whew. When I started this I just figured that it would span one post, and instead I’m already up to three, and I believe that in order to truly do this justice, one more post will be required. After I finish out the remainder of his points with this post, I will finish out with a commentary of Romans 11:11-24, which is the “model” that Mike’s geocreationism platform is built on.
Old Earth Creationism is Correct that the Earth is Old
I find little to disagree with here. As noted in the previous entry, passage of time was not created until Day Four (Gen 1:14). This means that it is impossible to truly estimate the age of the earth. As a result, I find no inconsistency between Scripture and an old earth. The primary reason that organizations like Answers in Genesis or Creation Ministries International fight so hard for a 6,000 year old earth is that death and destruction, by definition, cannot exist prior to sin. To have millions, or even billions, of years of death, disease, and carnivorous activity prior to the first sin removes the Genesis foundation of the gospel message.
At least that is the position of “mainstream” creation scientists. Recently, I’ve begun diving deeper into that very issue, and I’ve begun to wonder if that is really necessary. It seems that human death is more important than animal death–why animal death is a factor at all is beyond me for they have no will and no soul.
Gap Theorists are Correct that There is a Gap in the Creation Story
Most Gap Theorists place a gap in the creation story, between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. They believe that in that time, prior to Adam, is when all of the fossils that we are discovering for which we have no corresponding living creature lived. Shortly after God created the heaven and the earth (verse 1), this would be the time of the trilobites, dinosaurs, and other creatures that, according to paleontologists, lived before man walked this earth. In this gap, they reason, were also the primitive hominids, such as Neanderthals and Homo habilis.
God then destroyed all of this in a global flood followed by a massive ice age. Hence, we now have the Spirit of God hovering above the waters (verse 2). The rest of the story follows.
It’s obvious that we have no Biblical support for such a theory. But Mike places the gap later in the creation account, at Day Four. So, what is it about Day Four that seems to have some sort of mysticism about it? Let’s examine it closely:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. [Gen 1:14-19]
This passage starts with the creation of lights in the sky, separating day from night and marking the passage of time. Then, the text has God make two great great lights, the sun and the moon. Then, He makes the stars.
The key to the mystical allure of Day Four is that it is the first place in all of this creation account where we can begin to measure time. Prior to this day, there is no way to actually do that. Now, it is here that Mike wants the gap to occur–but we encounter a serious problem.
At this point in the account, God has separated light from dark (Day One), separated heaven from earth (Day Two), created land and ocean and made vegetation grow on it (Day Three). Day Four sees the heavenly bodies–sun, moon, and stars–but we have yet to see any sort of animal life. Placing the gap here doesn’t account for millions of years of fossils–at least not of any animals. Animals see the light of day for the first time in Day Five.
Day-Age Theorists are Correct that Each Day Maps to an Age
Since I see no inherent Scriptural problems with an old earth, so long as no death occurs prior to the Fall, I see nothing wrong with this notion, either. In the creation account, Moses uses the Hebrew word yom, which typically means either a 24-hour day, sunrise to sunset (as in a Jewish holiday), or an indeterminate period of time (that is, an age). Though the young earth creationists argue that the phraseology “evening came and then morning, and so was the xth day” removes any room for interpreting yom as anything but a 24-hour day, I disagree for two reasons.
First, God does not experience duration in the same way that we do. It is said of Him that a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is but a day (2 Pet 3:8). These are days from God’s point of view, not ours. Second, I believe that the use of the phrase “evening came and then morning” is to show that overlap of these days is not possible. Otherwise, we will truly lose the significance of the Sabbath day.
While I generally find that a young earth is more consistent with what Scripture teaches, I find no problems with an old earth model. Definitive proof an old earth model would not shake my belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, and more importantly, would not affect my belief in God.
Theistic Evolutionists are Correct that God Caused Mutations and Allowed Natural Selection to Occur
And now we have the largest problem with Mike’s theory of geocreationism: theistic evolution, marrying God–a sovereign deity with an unsearchable purpose in creating mankind–with the purposeless entity of evolution and its counterpart, natural selection. That is a major contradiction in terms. Doing this does not explain anything; it only attempts to add an ultimate purpose to a process that doesn’t have one.