As many of you probably know, the day-age theory is an attempt to reconcile creation and evolution, by turning the days mentioned in Genesis into long periods of time. What is the biblical evidence against this theory? How can I use Scripture to refute such a view?
The primary argument against the day age theory is from the Hebrew Grammer. The word Yom is translated day in this passage, and in different contexts it can mean different things.
- In 67 verses in the Old Testament, the word Yom is translated into the English word "time." (Genesis 4:3, I Kings 11:42)
- Four times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "year." (1 Kings 1:1)
- Eight times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "age." (Genesis 18:11 and 24:1, Joshua 23:1)
- It is translated Day hundreds of times.
If we were to stop here in our investigation of the word we could conclude that the genesis account could include the idea of the word yom referring to an age instead of a literal day. But as we dig deeper this view becomes less likely.
Every place we find the word Yom with the words morning or evening it always means a literal 24 hour day. Every place we find the word Yom with a number (First Day for example) it always means a literal day. So usage would tell us that when we find the words "So the evening and the morning were the first day." we would fully expect that this means a literal day and not an age.
Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology (295ff.) lays out several arguments against the day age view, the most significant of which are:
- the "evening" and "morning" language of Genesis 1
- plants (created third day) need sunshine (created fourth day) to survive
- the Sabbath commandment
Evening and morning. Several times in the Genesis 1 account we have the language "evening" and "morning," such as in Genesis 1:5b:
And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (ESV)
By using the common language of a 24-hour day, it's argued that the original audience would have most naturally understood these days as 24-hour days.
Plants and sunshine. Since plants need sunshine to survive, and the sun was created one "day" after plants, the "day" could not have been an "age," since the plants would have all died. The counter to this – that the light from day 1 could keep the plants alive – indicates that God created a light source in many ways exactly like the sun, but at the same time not the sun, on day 1, which seems odd.
Sabbath commandment. Perhaps the strongest and most common argument revolves around the Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8–11, particularly verse 11:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Here the author clearly connects the Sabbath commandment – work six (24-hour) days, rest one day – with the "days" of creation. If the Genesis "days" are actually long periods of time, the connection between creation and Sabbath observance is weakened. Furthermore, this use of a number with the word "days" (here, "six days") is never understood figuratively in the OT; it always refers to a specified number of 24-hour days.
Grudem admits that these arguments are not conclusive, given the counter-arguments against them and the other evidence for the day-age view. He concludes:
The possibility must be left open that God has chosen not to give us enough information to come to a clear decision on this question, and the real test of faithfulness to him may be the degree to which we can act charitably toward those who in good conscience and full belief in God's Word hold to a different position on this matter.
Well I'd like to make a clarification, having dealt with both, day age theory is not necessarily an attempt to fit evolution into the bible. Day age theory in and of it's self is only an attempt to cram billions of years into the days of genesis to agree with modern cosmological "science", and usually does not directly endorse biological evolution. Many who hold that claim still claim to take the bible seriously, and Hugh Ross even claims it's a literal interpretation.
Theistic evolutionists in my experience, mostly dismiss the parts of the bible that disagree with their worldview. They'll make many claims, usually a shot gun approach to see which one can be accepted such as: The bible has many errors in it, genesis was a compiled creation account similar to other creation myths, it's allegorical not historical, I've even heard it was just poetic, the list goes on. So coming up with a biblical refutation to theistic evolution is not going to do you much good in that situation because for whatever reason you show and no matter how black and white you show it in the scripture, they'll come up with a reason why the scripture itself shouldn't be trusted.
So you first need to help them determine if they actually believe in God or just think He's a nice idea. Even if you can prove everything, at this point it won't do anybody any good if we establish that God is real, but they won't trust and obey Him. That's how God works, He doesn't normally go around proving He's God to people who don't want to trust Him. He does all the time to those who will though, as it is written He "resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble."
If they decide that they actually do trust God but they are just unsure about the Bible really being what He said, then you need to deal with that. For most theistic evolutionists that should be enough. They usually just don't trust the bible, they know what it says, they just don't believe it. So you need to have them seek God and ask Him to revel it as His truth to them, you need to have them repent of their sin of doubting His word; and you can show them that this was in fact literally the oldest trick in the book . Satan's oldest trick was when he said to Eve "Did God really say you couldn't eat of any tree in the garden?" which did two things, first it was a distortion of what He said to make it sound ridiculous, and second it made Eve doubt God's word. Only when their heart is right should you start to show them hard evidence as to the bible's authenticity (which is another topic all together). Our job is to win people, not arguments.
We have to realize too that despite the fact that man jotted down what God said, the scripture is not an imperfect representation of mans thoughts on God, but scripture is what God said, not what man thought God said. In Timothy 3:16 it states all scripture is theopneustos (literally God breathed, not simply inspired as we used the term today). And off this topic there is evidence to support the idea that God even chose every letter.
Day Age Theory
Now to actually get to the biblical problems with Day Age theory. The rest of this assumes that the Bible is now being taken as inspired by God and we are only talking about interpretation. Again here first and foremost we need to be in agreement (us and the old earthers) to humble ourselves before God and invite the Spirit of Truth to lead us into understanding (see John 16:13), because it profits us nothing to lean on our own understanding.(see Proverbs 3:5) So they need to make a decision, is any amount of outside 'evidence' going to overthrow the scripture if you can prove what it says disagrees with their worldview? If the answer is ultimately yes then again this is pointless, there will always be a new argument or 'proof' to discredit scripture, eventually they all prove false, but if your going to be blown about by every wind of doctrine you are unstable at best.
There are entire ministries devoted to dealing with this area so I can only make a fairly basic overview, but I'll try to get as much as I can into this(I myself have started a book on this subject). One thing I don't hear people mention that I feel should be obvious is that in the Jewish Calendar the year is 5773, we have records as early as 150ad that they were reconciling this from the beginning of creation, it wasn't till much later that they started reconciling this as the creation of Adam.
Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that the days are numbered, and it makes a point of there being evening and morning. Now the jews didn't recon the days of the week like we do with names they do it by number after the pattern of creation week.(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_calendar#Weeks ) . You'll note in Genesis 1:5 that God describes exactly what He means by day when He said: "God called the the light day and the darkness He called night and there was evening and there was morning day one". I find it interesting that instead of calling it "first day"(יום ראשון) as Sunday is called in hebrew(the other days being referred to as second day, third day ... as the rest of genesis 1 reads) He instead called it "Day one" Yom ehad(אֶחָֽד) setting it as unique not to be confused with any other first day(of the week), which is the same phrase He uses in Zechariah 14 to say there will be another "Day one" Yom Ehad in the future where there will be no more evening and no more morning, I think that's a beautiful symmetry to the start of time and the end of time. Now Hugh Ross spoke at my church and said that we could interpret evening and morning as being symbolic for the dawn of an age and the close of an age. But I checked, there is never a time in the hebrew of the Old Testament that evening and morning could mean anything like that. The other most obvious objection is the fact that God wrote in the Ten Commandments the reason for resting on the sabbath day was because In six days the Lord God made the heavens, the earth and the seas and all that is in them and on the seventh day He rested.
As well as changing the clear meaning of day in Genesis, old earthers also have to deny the flood as being a global event(if it was global all radio dating methods are automatically voided, as the strata don't represent age, taking away almost all of there "proof" the earth is old) and but what is often overlooked is the fact that they don't just have to believe the days in genesis were "Long periods of time" but they also have to have man on earth longer because of the 'evidence' that man has been around 60,000+ years. They generally do this by playing with the genealogies in Genesis 5 claiming that it's just an overview of notable generations, they are telescoped and the word begot just means that they became the patriarch of that family line. Two problems with that theory, 1. even old earth supporting Jews still recognize the creation of Adam as occurring 5773 years ago, and as I said that was no later than 150ab when they started using that, so they definitely did not interpret begat as starting family lines. and 2. Gleason Archer(Who co-wrote with Hugh Ross supporting the day age theory) wrote "However the statistics of Genesis 5 may be handled, they can hardly end up with a date for Adam much before 10,000 B.C." in his book entitled "Biblical Difficulties".
Geneses 7 is extremely precise in it's language. The whole earth and every mountain under the heavens were covered with water, and He blotted out every living thing from the face of the land. Gleason Archer(in Biblical Difficulties) agrees it was no local flood. There are plenty of specific claims as to why this was local, but if you just look up each one you'll see most of them are fictitious or disproven else where.
One of the other Gotcha verses for and old earth view, that I never see used, is Genesis 2:5-7 . Nothing green had grown on earth yet because man wasn't there, and it hadn't rained, then God created man.
I must leave now having much more to write, but I encourage you to seek the council of the Holy Spirit and search for the term "since the beginning" in the bible and see what interesting conclusions you can gather.