Talking to EPM and reading many others (christians and atheists) I have found it interesting to weigh the evidence for young earth or old earth both Biblically and scientifically. I write this post because I have seen increasing evidence for an older earth and so I desire to see where it fits in with what God has told me through His Word.
Here we go:
When I read Genesis 1, I did find it hard to comprehend an old earth view in regard to the days. For one thing the word "day" is "yom" which seems to refer to a 24 hour period, especially when it refers to a morning and an evening.
However, looking closer at the days, I notice that day seven does not have a morning and an evening? I wonder why? Was day seven longer than the others or is it because day seven is not yet complete? "yom" can mean a long period of time not just 24 hours.
So I begin to wonder whether morning and evening simply represent complete periods of creation that God has made. I don't know when day seven ended but some people suggest that it ended when Jesus died on the cross and now He is creating a new heavens and a new earth (John 14:2,3. 1 Peter 3:13)
So why did God talk about "days" of creation with a morning and an evening? Throughout Exodus God tells them to follow the pattern of six days work and one day rest. I am thinking that God gave us an example to follow by example. God worked six "God days" and rested a seventh day.
We know that time is different for God and day to God or a watch in the night is as a thousand years. (Ps 90:4 "For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night". 2Pe 3:8 "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.")
So time is relative...as Einstein would say :) God worked days in relation to Him as an example for mankind to work six days and rest on the seventh.
Regarding lights in the heavens to rule the day. A problem arises, was there light in the beginning and yet no stars? Was the sun after the green foods?
"16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also."
One thing I notice about this verse is that the words "God made two great lights" implies that God had created them at an earlier date but was completing the work He started by clearing the atmosphere to let the sun and the moon rule their time periods properly.
"Made" is an imperfect tense thus it could possibly mean a past tense. So day one could mean that God created the heavens through the big bang and stretched it out as it says in Isa 40:22 "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
What God did on day four was that He cleared the atmosphere to allow the great lights to become visible properly from a view from on earth.
Regarding the order of creation, it seems there may be a little bit of disorder as what people claim in the fossil record. An explanation I had heard suggested that when God wrote chapter 1 it covered millions of years so when God wrote the order of His work He did not give us a critical path analysis. He gave us a quick overview of His workings such as when I describe building a house, I would say 1. First came the builder 2. Second came the electrician 3. Third came the plumber, or similar.
What I now ask is "Did they all come with an exact stop and finish when I describe it this way or are they overlapped in their time periods?". So in general God gave us the rough accurate display of what He did...first came the plants...second came fish and third came the land animals, which then overlap each other.
What about animal death?
I always grew up thinking that there was no death before the Fall. But I don't even know where it say that in the Bible? Some people use Romans 5:12 " Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—"
But when I read that it seems to only talk about mankind's death. When I look at the world around me, I see beauty. Not just in things that look nice but in animals that can cause pain such as bees, how amazing and well made they are! Our world seems to fit like a clove and work together so well causing what some would say is the circle of life.
I struggle to comprehend a world with just beings (such as a lion) that didn't live off one another.
Psalm 104 is interesting:
17 Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees.
18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.
19 ¶ He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down.
20 You make darkness, and it is night, In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they gather together And lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes out to his work And to his labor until the evening.
24 O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—
NEway, I don't have a problem with death before Adam and Eve. However something is terribly wrong in the human race because the Bible says that death entered mankind through sin and that we were to have dominion over what God had created. The problems arisen in these areas (man's dominion) are what I believe is the result of the curse.
Regarding evolution and Genesis 1:
Some scientists seem to say that the fossil record is grouped rather than transitional, however should evolution be shown to be true and I am convinced then I find interesting wording used in Genesis 1.
11 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so."
20 ¶ Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens."
24 ¶ Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so.
Interesting, the verses speak for themselves.
Well, that is a quick overview of some thoughts that I have.