Did God create over billions of years?

And why is it important?

by Lita Cosner and Gary Bates

Often, people challenge biblical creationists with comments along the lines of, “I believe God created, and I don’t believe in evolution, but He could have taken billions of years, so what’s the big deal about the age of the earth?” Some claim that an emphasis on ‘6 literal days, 6,000 years ago’ even keeps people away from the faith, so “Why be so dogmatic? Why emphasize something so strongly that’s not a salvation issue?”

It might come as a surprise that we agree—to a point. The timescale in and of itself is not the important issue. So why does CMI emphasize it? It’s important because the issue ultimately comes down to, “Does the Bible actually mean what it plainly says?” It therefore goes to the heart of the trustworthiness of Scripture. As such, compromising with long ages also severely undermines the whole Gospel message, thus creating crises of faith for many as well as huge problems with evangelism.

The implications of a long-age timescale

First, we need to understand where the concept of an old earth came from. The idea of millions or billions of years simply is not found anywhere in Scripture; it is a concept derived from outside of the Bible. In 1830, Charles Lyell, a Scottish lawyer, released his book Principles of Geology. He stated that one of his aims was “To free the science [of geology] from Moses.”1 He built his ideas upon those of another geologist, James Hutton, who advocated a uniformitarian interpretation of the world’s geology. Lyell argued that the thousands of feet of sedimentary layers (laid down by water or some other moving fluid) all over the earth were the result of long, slow, gradual processes over millions or billions of years (instead of the processes of Noah’s Flood). He believed that processes observed in the present must be used to explain the geological history of the earth. So, if we currently see rivers laying down sediment at an average rate of say 1 mm (4/100th of an inch) per year, then a layer of sedimentary rock such as sandstone which is 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) thick must have taken about a million years to form. This ‘present is the key to the past’ assumption (and its variants) is a cornerstone of modern geology. It involves a rejection of the biblical account of a global watery cataclysm. The millions of years assigned to the various layers in the ‘geological column’ were adopted long before the advent of radiometric dating methods—well before radioactivity was even discovered.

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  1. The time between “and the earth was null and void” and the “remodel” to the point it was “good” (for life) is anybody’s guess.

  2. His Word doesn’t tell us how much time elapsed, a lot, or a little, or none. Apparently God thought it necessary not to reveal it.

    Where do you believe it tells us exactly how long?

    • We are given times frames by the use of the terms “morning” and “evening” and it’s attachment to a number. This indicates a time frame of regular days. Also, God exists outside of time; what would be the point of Him saying “in the beginning” if time has not impact on Him? The beginning of what? It’s deduced from scripture that this “beginning” was indeed when time began to be moderated, Genesis 1:14-16 indicates this, as well.

      We would do well to stick to the plain reading of scripture for the answers to our origins.


        It says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”


        3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
        The creation of light and darkness is the measurement of time,as we know it, it did not occur until this point.

        There is no reason to believe a gap did not occur between v 2 and 3. We know God could have easily made the earth habitable for man when He FIRST created it. but He didn’t. There is,according to Scripture,an obvious progression between not habitable and habitable earth. There is a reason for that gap, but no one knows how long that gap was or the reason. Verse 3 is the beginning of the “remodel” of the “without form and void earth. Which is from that point on separated by “evening and morning.” Interestingly enough, the sun, which is the light of our “morning” and the absence of the sun, which is our “evening,” was not created until day 4.

        And, there is also not a reason to believe a gap did absolutely occur, either,

        A preacher friend , in his recent sermon, said Genesis tells us “why” creation happened more than “how.”

        As for sticking to the plain reading of Scripture, you won’t accept the plain reading of 1 Peter 3:21,22 that baptism is essential to salvation….

        21BAPTISM, which corresponds to this, NOW SAVES YOU, not as a removal of dirt from the body but AS AN APPEAL FOR A GOOD CONSCIENCE, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (That is very plain/clear, saved at baptism.)

        so why do you accept Genesis 1 as literal days from the beginning.

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