The Creation movement has increasingly caused many to face up to the powerful, Biblical arguments for such things as:

  • All living things were created (about 6,000 years ago) in six literal Earth-rotation days.
  • There was no death, bloodshed or suffering before Adam’s Fall.
  • Noah’s Flood covered the whole globe, and would have laid down a vast number of fossils.

However, many of the Christians who now accept the above points are still overawed by certain arguments from astronomy for billions of years. This seems to have compelled a number of writers to come up with novel ‘interpretations’ of the Bible to try to harmonize it with the idea that there were ‘billions of years’ before the creation of living things during the six days of Creation Week.

We are not talking here about the classical ‘gap’ (or ruin-reconstruction) theory, which has long been ‘on the ropes’.1 Rather, we are addressing recent books by Christian writers trying to find room in the Bible for vast ages, who say that the sun, moon and stars were all made long before Day 1.2

But what does the Bible actually say? God’s historical record in Genesis 1:1–5 reads:

‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 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.’

The beginning

The first thing God tells us in the Bible is that there was a beginning. Not a beginning to God,3 but a beginning to time and to the Earth and to the space-time environment in which we live. These words assure us that, as linguist Charles Taylor says, ‘The universe was no accident, though many evolutionists think so, and some Eastern religions suggest so, with a near-eternal universe and gods emerging from it.’4

The first Hebrew word in Genesis 1:1 is bereshith; it occurs without the article and so is a proper noun, meaning ‘absolute beginning’. Why is this important?…

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