1all physical evidence from the natural world testifies about God:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1) [ESV]
The statement, "things that have been made" means the created world continuously testifies about God's eternal power and divine nature. What was true in Paul's day was true before Paul and is still true today. This passage states not to limit "creation" to Genesis, and just the first seven days.
In addition, the Bible is a progressive revelation about God, and often makes reference to, and use of the created world as part of that revelation; limiting an understanding of creation to Genesis has the effect of negating or denying the progressive revelation of God.
There are two passages in Isaiah which illustrate the need to look beyond the initial seven days in Genesis 1. The first addresses the issue of darkness:
I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
No where does Genesis attribute darkness as a work of creation: it is simply "there" in the beginning. Without Isaiah there is no explicit evidence it was created. Science now claims the universe is composed almost entirely of dark matter and dark energy; without Isaiah, it cannot be stated God created these things, and it is pointless to discuss the existence or significance of "darkness" in Genesis without Isaiah. Also, rather than dispute the existence of dark matter and energy, the Biblical perspective should be to ask why science is claiming this as a "discovery" and not acknowledging they are finally confirming what was written thousands of years ago in Isaiah.
A second passage addresses a Biblical response to the theory of evolution:
For thus says the LORD,
who created the heavens
(he is God!),
who formed the earth and made it
(he established it;
he did not create it empty,
he formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:18)
This self revelation of the LORD references the earth as it is found now. In fact, despite widely diverse environments, every part of the earth is inhabited.
One cannot engage in a discussion of evolution from Genesis 1 since the world experienced today can only be traced back in time to the flood. The animal kingdom as it exists today is primarily a result of the flood and secondarily from the first seven days. While both are necessary, it is the later act and revelation which must be considered first. For example, penguins, did not "evolve" in order to survive in Antarctica: they traveled from the Ark in order to inhabit it.
Likewise the physical condition of the earth cannot be presumed to be that which existed during or after the first seven days, since God stated He would destroy the earth. The planet Noah stepped out had to have been altered or even created new. That is to say, in analyzing or discussing the physical evidence found today, a Biblical perspective beyond Genesis 1 is necessary.
As man continues to make "scientific" discoveries, these should be seen as evidence coming from God (as Paul states).
2One could go so far as to say the natural world was created by God in such a way that changes which occur naturally are from God. For example, as carbon was created by God, its physical properties and behavior found by man after creation, are also from God. So while carbon14 was not present in any living thing on the seventh day
3its subsequent presence in both the environment and living things is a direct result of the way in which God created carbon to behave in the natural world.
When considered as evidence from God, "dating" fossils using carbon14 offers immediate evidence in support of all the Bible says about man's time on the earth. The half-life of carbon14 is 5,730-years, about the number of years some Jewish scholars calculate have gone by since creation. Regardless of the precision of this calculation, the presence of carbon14 in all fossils is consistent with a Biblical age. In addition, the smaller amounts in older fossils is expected from the creation narrative which states the first things were created from the earth (i.e. with carbon12).
Significantly, the half-life is not exact but is given as a range: plus or minus 40 years. The 40-year period is absent from Genesis, but elsewhere is shown to be a period corresponding to judgment. Likewise, the 12 tribes (and later Apostles) "grow" to fourteen names which proves to be unstable, eventually reverting back to twelve. In other words, the created behavior of carbon is identical to the Biblical record of God's work to bring judgment and salvation to sinful man. Is it reasonable to claim these numbers just "happen" to agree with the Bible? But that question cannot be asked if one remains "stuck" in the creation narrative in Genesis.
The proper Biblical perspective is not how long God took to create the earth, but how He went about saving man and how much time He has allowed man to accept His offer of eternal life. How is it possible the "natural" properties carbon and carbon14 are in agreement with what the Bible says about salvation?
Without the entire Bible we run the risk of not focusing on salvation. Any objective consideration of the discovery and behavior of carbon14 leads one to conclude the natural world was created to testify to God's plan of salvation and desire than none should be lost.
1. Correctly understood is essential as the sequence of scientific discovery is first to "discover" a particular physical phenomena and then explain it. The phenomena and explanation are for practical purposes one in the same. However, man's first explanation is always wrong and so man's initial understanding of the phenomena is flawed. For example, Newton used his laws of motion to explain the observed condition of the universe in such a way that it also defined the previous condition. The Newtonian model, which was wrong, was taught as fact for almost 300 years. Only when the phenomena was correctly understood are they useful to understand the physical world as God describes its creation.
2. The factual evidence not how those facts are explained.
3. Carbon-14 forms naturally in the atmosphere when protons from the sun collide with nitrogen and then combine with oxygen. Only after it is taken in by plants which are eaten will it be found in animals.