Kenneth Keathley: Why the Old Earth Creation Is True
There are a couple of versions for the explanation of the creation of the earth in the Christian theology. As far as we know, you support the “old-earth creation” version. Can you please state why you think this version is correct both from the theological perspective and also from the scientific perspective?
I do hold to an old earth perspective. I do believe that the earth is as scientists say 4 billion years old and that the universe is 13.8 billion years. There is no Christian creed or confession that requires that one hold to a young earth or an old earth. And throughout the history of the Church, theologians have held to a variety of positions. Some theologians interpreted Genesis 1 and 2 to teach that the earth is only about 6 thousand years old.
Others such as Saint Augustine did not understand the seven days of creation to be 24-hour days. So there is latitude within the Christian faith about the age of the earth. I think that a close reading of the Genesis text, in Genesis 1, 2, and 3 lend itself to a non-24 hour interpretation.
There is a number of reasons for this. For one thing, the word “day” is used three different ways in the text, and it makes it very clear that we are not to understand each day as a 24-hour day. Because for each day that it speaks about, the first day, day-two, day-three it would say evening and morning. Day-one evening and morning, day-two evening and morning day-three.
Well, if you think about it for a second, that's not a 24-hour period. Evening to morning isn't even the day time. Evening and morning is talking about the evening, the nighttime. And it's talking about the time in which God would create and than there would be a period of rest.
And so just a close reading of the text itself indicates that one should not read Genesis chapter 1 as teaching a literal 24-hour period. And so I'm very comfortable with an old earth perspective. Because I think that it not only fits what the text says, but it also fits the latest findings of science.