Sight of the Lord Creation Time
Ralph Griffin, Jan 15, 2016
In Romans 1:20, the word of God tells us “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” However, in this day and age, public schools teach that the universe and the earth and life came into existence without any critical support from God, and that teaching supports a position that the warning presented in Romans 1:20 is without merit because there is no God. Is the warning really without merit or is the public school teaching without truth? This article will examine that question and present ideas that are commonly known and a few new ideas that are not well known.
Atheists believe that God does not exist. Agnostics believe that the existence of God is unknown. They decline to believe that God exists, which is not significantly different from believing that God does not exist, for any discussion about a person’s position regarding the creation controversy.
The Bible begins with a record of creation which briefly describes what happened while God created the earth and the stars and life. The record is presented in the book of Genesis. Christians believe that this record is true. Some other religious faiths also believe that the Genesis record is true, but this article will identify the believers as Christians and let that name serve as an identifier for all persons who believe that the Genesis record of creation is true.
If an atheist or agnostic has a discussion with a Christian about creation, then each one is motivated to defend their own point of view because failure to do so may appear to be an admission of being wrong. If neither person in the discussion is interested in learning about the reasons why the other person believes one way or the other, then the discussion will certainly not cause either person to reconsider his or her position. However, if the atheist or agnostic is willing to consider learning whether the Christian belief may be credible, then the result is uncertain, and that atheist or agnostic is skeptical but willing to investigate. This article identifies the skeptical atheist or agnostic simply as a skeptic.
What should a Christian say to a skeptic who doubts that God exists because the scientific evidence that is taught in public schools supports the position that there is no God? First of all, it may help to ask how the scientific evidence proves that there is no God. The skeptic can’t do it without referring to the Bible in order to show how its record differs from scientific evidence. At that point, a Christian may invite the skeptic to review the Bible to see what it really says, rather than relying on second hand information about what it says. If it is possible to show that the Bible does not make any claims about the age of the earth or universe that are contrary to commonly accepted beliefs about that subject, then it may be possible to keep the Bible open while continuing to discuss the more important facts about salvation. Of course, we must not make any untrue claims about what the Bible really says, and that is the primary issue of concern which this article will address.
The two most commonly known Christian beliefs regarding creation are young earth creationism and day age creationism. Young earth creationists are Christians who believe that God created the earth in six literal days, and each day was 24 hours long and had only one rotation of the earth with respect to the sun. Day age creationists are Christians who believe that God created the earth, and each day of the creation record is an age which was much longer than 24 hours long and had many more than one rotation of the earth with respect to the sun.
What About Scientific Evidence
If the skeptic does not wish to understand the scientific lessons any more after finishing the class, then there is no need to closely examine the scientific evidence. In that case, the easiest answer for a Christian to give to a skeptic is to say that the scientific evidence is distorted, and refer the skeptic to some little-known source of scientific work, which claims to show how scientific evidence proves that the earth was created in six days and which the skeptic will never try to understand. That will enable the discussion to move on to the more important topics regarding what actions are required to accept God’s conditional offer of eternal life.
However, some skeptics wish to understand their scientific lessons. From the Christian perspective, we can see that the skeptic wishes to understand God’s creation. In this case, it is not possible to ignore the scientific evidence or successfully divert to a little-known source of scientific work, which claims to show how scientific evidence proves that the earth was created in six days and which the Christian does not understand sufficiently well enough to explain to a sceptic who wishes to understand God’s creation. In this case, a young earth creationist is unable to help, and the skeptic is without hope. However, if a skeptic wishes to understand God’s creation, and if the skeptic is speaking with a day age creationist, then there is still hope.
Was the earth created by God or was it created by natural processes that require no divine intervention? That question regarding the earth and also regarding life and the universe is at the heart of the creation controversy. However, the examination of that question is often diverted over to the question about how long did it take. Atheists, agnostics, and young earth creationists agree that God did not create the earth millions of years ago. After that agreement, any evidence that supports a belief in the age of the earth will prevent the atheist or agnostic from believing that God created it. On the other hand, Atheists, agnostics and day age creationists agree that God did not create the earth a few thousand years ago. After that agreement, any evidence that supports a belief in the age of the earth is irrelevant for evidence about whether God created it.
The evidence of the age of the earth is based on an abundant amount of evidence, which supports the conclusion by reasoning through a relatively direct path. For example, we can see galaxies, which are so far away that it takes billions of years for the light to reach our eyes. Also for example, we can see mountains which are being formed by processes which are proceeding so slowly that it must has taken millions of years for them to reach their current state. Also for example, we drive or ride in automobiles or other transport vehicles, which are powered by fuel, which is made from fossil fuel, which is taken from the earth at a depth of burial and having a chemical content indicating that it is a decomposed residue of life that existed millions of years ago.
However, the evidence of evolution is a very different subject from the evidence of the age of the earth. The so called evidence that evolution is the cause of all life on earth depends on much more than the evidence of the age of the earth. The evidence of evolution shows slow and minor changes of species over millions of years, which are interrupted by big changes without any connections between the more primitive species and the more advanced species. The broken pieces of evidence are connected together by a theory which is supported by the evidence that was connected together by that same theory. If there were no God, then the theory of evolution would be the best available explanation for the origin of life, which is why the atheists must assume that it is true, which is why they tolerate a circular argument of evidence. A most well-known example of this is the evolution of man from the ape, which has no scientific evidence to support the commonly presented drawings of a row of species walking forward with an appearance of progress from ape to man. These drawings are based on the assumption that any evidence of minor evolution within other species must also be evidence of a major evolution to man, even though the direct evidence is missing.
The day age creationist may divide the scientific evidence between the evidence of age and the evidence of evolution and divide the interpretation of the Bible between what God created and how long it took. By properly dividing truth from error in both areas, it is possible to see how scientific evidence does not disprove the existence of God. Unfortunately, this division of truth from error has no value for an atheist who would rather believe that there is no God, or an agnostic who would rather believe that we cannot know, or a young earth creationist who would rather not have to consider any scientific evidence at all.
The Witness Problem
Now just because the Bible does not contradict scientific evidence of the age of the earth and stars, that alone might not be enough evidence to convince a skeptic that the Bible is the word of God, but that is not the end of the issue. Consider the evidence of creation as though it were a case in court. No one denies that life and earth and stars do exist. No one denies that the Bible is a record which claims to be the word of God which includes His record of how He created all things. No one denies that if His word is true, then He does have the power to do what He says that He did. The most important question is regarding whether the record is real or fake. If God would take the witness stand to defend His word, then the issue could be resolved.
Actually, He already did take the witness stand by sending His son to earth for a while. The son of God lived on earth among men, and He told men who He is, and He proved it by performing miracles, and He answered their questions, but they gave Him an unfair trial and killed Him. The primary issue at that time was salvation rather than creation, and the same would be true today.
So men are to blame for the witness problem, and it is easy to see why God gives us the option to take His word or leave it after He created us, and He showed us His creation of the earth and life and stars, and He gave us His word about what He has done. The same principle also applies to all the other information in the Bible. On the other hand, if we assume that God is still obligated to keep on answering our questions and keep on performing miracles to prove who He is, then it is possible to see why a sceptic may hold on to some doubt about the existence of God. However, there is no evidence to support the assumption that God is obligated to honor any of our demands. So the skeptical view is without support.
Before continuing to follow the subject of creation controversy, it must be pointed out that salvation depends on more than just a belief that there is a God and He created all things. James 2:19 (NIV) tells us “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” The Bible explains that salvation is a conditional offer. So a sceptic should not walk away from this discussion feeling that he or she is saved because he or she believes in God. The sceptic should investigate what are the conditions of salvation. Exercise caution in pursuit of the truth, but do not use that as an excuse for abandoning the pursuit. Learn more about Plan of Salvation.
Genesis Record of Creation
So far, this article has presented a defense of day age creationism without any recognition for the concerns of the young earth creationist. Of course, the issue is not so simple. Christian faith is a belief in the word of God including the fact that His word is without error. So if one belief is contrary to another, then at least one of them is not a belief in the word of God. It is necessary to know which belief is truly the word of God because misunderstanding His word regarding the conditions of salvation may lead to a loss of salvation. Most young earth creationists and day age creationist agree that salvation does not depend on which belief a Christian has about the creation, but young earth creationist believe that day age creationism is not true, which makes it unacceptable, because other types of untruth can lead to a loss of salvation. So they must not compromise on any aspect of the truth, even if it is not an issue of salvation. However, day age creationists believe that their teaching is true and vital for the salvation of skeptics who wish to understand God’s creation.
To properly address these issues, it is necessary to examine the word of God. Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis describes what happened when God created the earth. It says that He created it in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. For each one of the first six days, it says “there was evening and there was morning, the Nth day”, where Nth is the first, second, third and so on. That is very strong evidence that God spent only six days to create the earth and everything in it. Christian faith is a belief in the word of God including the fact that His word is without error. So the statement regarding how many days is without error. It cannot be ignored or compromised because if that were allowed for the record of creation, then it could also be allowed for any other part of the Bible, and that would void the assurance that the word of God is without error regarding the much more important issues of salvation. That is the foundation of the defense of young earth creationism.
A day age creationist would also agree that the word of God is without error, but man’s interpretation of the word of God is vulnerable to error. The book of Genesis was first written in Hebrew at a time where there were very few words in that language. The Hebrew word “yom” was used to identify a day or daylight or a period of 24 hours or an age. The word “yom” was originally translated to other languages at a time when evidence about the age of the earth was not known, and at that time it was translated to the sort of word which specifies a period of 24 hours, and at this time the translation is stuck while men debate about translation. Day age creationists claim that age is the proper translation of “yom”, but young earth creationists claim that day is the proper translation of “yom”.
A young earth creationist may claim that other words could have been used in the original language to describe an age, if that had been the intended meaning, but those other words were not used, which proves that the day age creationist argument about the meaning of the word “yom” is worthless. However, a day age creationist may claim that scientific evidence of the age of the earth is evidence that age is the proper translation of “yom”, and the denial of that fact is a needless obstacle to the salvation of a critic who wishes to understand God’s creation and God’s word.
A young earth creationist may point out that the creation record states that for each day of creation, there was also an evening and morning, but the translation of a “yom” as a an age does not account for the words evening and morning. However, a day age creationist may claim that the words evening and morning are figurative in meaning, and so they do not prove that the period must be 24 hours. However, a young earth creationist may claim that a figure of speech in the Bible must have some sort of actual meaning, and there must be a sensible reason for claiming that those words are a figure of speech, but the day age creationist has not fulfilled these requirements for the interpretation of a figure of speech. So the day age creationists claim about evening and morning being figures of speech is actually a method of ignoring the word of God, which is unacceptable.
A day age creationist may point out that 2 Peter 3:8 tells us "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (NIV). And that proves that the definition for the word day should not be applied so strictly regarding the Lord’s reckoning of time in His work. However, a young earth creationist may claim that 2 Peter 3:8 is in a context that is not related to the subject of creation, which makes it irrelevant for the subject of creation. Furthermore, the young earth creationist may also claim that even if a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, then the six days of creation are like six thousand years, which are far too few to reach the billions of years that are required for the day age creationist to show how the six days of God’s creation could be equal to the scientific evidence of the age of the earth.
Sight of the Lord Creationism
2 Peter 3:8 is not the only Bible scripture that tells us about the Lord’s power over time. Psalm 90 provides a similar message, and it also provides much better information about the objections that are commonly presented by the young earth creationists. Psalm 90 is a record of the prayer of a man to God, and many biblical scholars tell us that it was a prayer of Moses, who also wrote the book of Genesis. Following is a quotation of the first four versus.
(NIV Psalm 90:1) Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. (2) Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (3) You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.” (4) A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
Verse 1 shows that the man is praying to the Lord. Verse 2 shows that the subject is creation, and before changing the subject, verse 4 tells us about the Lord’s amazing power over time. When we speak to one another about the power of the Lord, we are speaking about the Lord rather than speaking to Him, and when doing so in the case of verse 4, the message tells us that “A thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night”, or if we compress, then the message tells us that “A thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like a day”. Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 both tell us about the Lord’s power over time by comparing a thousand years to a day. The most common objection to the use of 2 Peter 3:8 for the subject of creation is that the context of 2 Peter 3:8 is not regarding the creation. However, the objection is not valid in the case of Psalm 90:1-4 because verse 2 shows that the subject certainly does include the creation. Psalm 90:1-4 shows that the Lord’s power over time is relevant to the creation, and 2 Peter 3:8 confirms that He has that same power by speaking about it in another subject, which in that case is about our waiting for the second coming. 2 Peter 3:8 also tells us that He can use that power in both directions.
The Genesis record of creation is the creator’s record of His own work according to His own sight. Psalm 90:1-4 tells us about what sort of sight He has for the passage of time. Verse 4 describes what is like a day in the sight of the Lord, and it also describes what is like a night in the sight of the Lord, which is related to evening and morning, which is a critical concern of young earth creationism.
Psalm 90:1-4 describes how the life time of man is short in comparison to the Lord. So in verse 4, a “thousand years” are a thousand years of man, and the rest of verse 4 tells us how much time that is like, in the sight of the Lord. Verse 4 tells us that a thousand years of man are “like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night”, in the sight of the Lord. By looking at the subjects of day and night one at a time, it is simple to understand that a thousand years of man are like a day in the sight of the Lord, and a thousand years of man are like a night in the sight of the Lord. The defense of young earth creationism requires an interpretation of the Genesis record of creation such that there must be one day for each evening and morning, and the same reasoning must also require that there must be one night for each evening and morning, and the same reasoning must also require that there must be one night in the sight of the Lord for each evening and morning in the sight of the Lord, and collecting that fact along with the fact that a thousand years of man are like a night in the sight of the Lord according to Psalm 90:4 supports the conclusion that a thousand years of man are like an evening and morning in the sight of the Lord, which is the conclusion supported here in this presentation.
It is possible to require an interpretation that sets four watches in the night are equal to one whole night, and if that is required, then four thousand years of man are like a whole night in the sight of the Lord, which is equal to one evening and morning in the sight of the Lord. That would modify the numeric value in the direction of increasing support for the same conclusion, but it would be a needless pointless complication which leads to no significant change of the final conclusion, which is why this interpretation of Psalm 90:4 uses one watch in the night for one evening and morning, which puts day and evening and morning all on the same scale. Any sort of interpretation which leads us to ignore the words “watch in the night” in Psalm 90:4 would be no better than an interpretation which leads us to ignore the words evening and morning in Genesis 1.
So Psalm 90:4 provides a scriptural basis for understanding the meaning of day and evening and morning in the Genesis record of creation, and it means that they are like a thousand years of man. This understanding of Psalm 90:4 enables anyone to understand the Genesis record of creation according to the creator’s sight for the passage of time, which is not limited to just one day of man for each day and evening and morning in the sight of the Lord. This understanding of Psalm 90:4 does not prove what is the age of the earth, but it does prove that rejecting the evidence of the age of the earth is not justified by the concern about the meaning of the words day and evening and morning in the Genesis record of creation.
The defense of young earth creationism may claim that even if a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, then the six days of creation are like six thousand years, which are far too few to reach the billions of years that are required by the defense of any belief which claims that the six days of God’s creation could be equal to the scientific evidence of the age of the earth. The discussion about that topic is in a subsection of this article. Read the discussion about how Thousands are like Billions of Years.
The reasoning that is presented here depends on Psalm 90:4 to show us what is the proper interpretation for the meaning of a day and an evening and a morning in the Genesis record of creation. The key point is that a day of creation is a day in the sight of the Lord, which is far more than 24 hours long or one rotation of the earth with respect to the sun. The fact that a “yom” may be interpreted as a day is a strong supporting argument, but it is not essential for support of the interpretation that a day of creation is a day in the sight of the Lord. This article presents this interpretation and gives it the name “Sight of the Lord Creationism”.
More About Creation
So far, this article has presented a very short explanation of various key points that are commonly presented for the defense of day age creationism and young earth creationism, and it has presented a short introduction to sight of the Lord creationism. Of course, there is much more to say, but this article is designed to enable the reader to follow a short path from beginning to end, and then go back and examine more carefully the areas of interest. Read More About Creation and why different people believe different things.
Why does it Matter?
Salvation does not depend on which belief is held by a Christian regarding how long God took to create the earth. However, if a skeptical atheist or agnostic is willing to consider is willing to consider learning whether the Christian belief may be credible, and if the skeptic wishes to understand God creation, then it will be much easier for the skeptic to overcome the obstacle that is presented by public school lessons about the creation of universe and earth and life on earth by avoiding a needless confrontation between Christian faith and scientific knowledge. After navigating around that obstacle, a skeptic may begin to learn the more importance parts of the word of God, which can lead a man or woman to salvation. So it is important which belief is held by a Christian regarding how long God took to create the earth because it is important to avoid needless obstacles while serving as a witness of faith in God to those who are willing to consider His word.
Now if a skeptic is willing to consider the word of God and discovers that the scientific evidence of age does not contradict the word of God, then the skeptic is ready to consider what are the conditions of salvation. Matthew 7:13-15 (NIV) tells us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” The best way to follow this advice is to accept all of the advice from the same source, which is the Bible. Do not accept any advice that comes from a source that contradicts any part of the Bible, or excludes any part of the Bible, or comes from another source that claims to present information with authority greater than or equal to the authority of the word in the Bible, which is the word of God. Learn more about Plan of Salvation.
Grace and peace to all of you in pursuit of the truth