A straightforward reading of the Bible indicates that God created in six 24-hour days a little over 6,000 years ago. This is the way the church has understood it for most of the church’s history,1 and the way Hebrew scholars have always understood it.
However, with the rise of long-age claims in geology led by James Hutton2 and Charles Lyell3 about 200 years ago, some conservative Christians became intimidated. So they proposed schemes by which the Bible could accommodate these long–age ideas. Various views, unheard of before this time, sprung up: day-age, gap theory, framework hypothesis, theistic evolution.
All of these views have the baneful consequence of placing death before sin, including human death—even death by sinful means including cannibalism. However, the Gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, 21–22, 26, and 45–49 tells us that Adam, “the first man”, “a man of dust”, sinned and brought physical death into the world as punishment. So Jesus, “the last Adam”, “the man of heaven”, came to die physically for our sin, then rise physically from the dead.4 Therefore, if death came before sin, then death is not the punishment for sin, so how could Jesus die for our sins?
This view asserts that the days of creation were long ages of time. This idea was unknown until evangelical Anglican theologian Stanley Faber (1773–1854) proposed that the days of Genesis 1 were really eons of time. This was not widely accepted until it was popularized by the Scottish geologist and professing evangelical, Hugh Miller (1802–1856), who abandoned the gap theory and started promoting the day-age view in his book Testimony of the Rocks. This was published in the year after his untimely death (by suicide). He speculated that the days were really long ages. Miller held that Noah’s Flood was a local flood and that the rock layers were laid down over long periods of time. The best known modern proponent of this view is Hugh Ross (1946– ) and his organisation Reasons to Believe, whose justifications for the view have been thoroughly discredited.5
As we have often shown, the days of Genesis 1 must be normal-length days, because they have both a number and an evening plus morning. Also, the Fourth Commandment explicitly cites Creation Week as the pattern for our working week (Exodus 20:8–11)—we don’t work for six eons and rest for one eon!
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