Sight of the Lord Creation
Giving the Defense of Our Faith
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter wrote to those “who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5, NKJV) regarding “the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:8). That same message still speaks to those of us who have the same faith that Peter used to identify those to whom he wrote.
Again, he identified those to whom he was speaking by saying “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Peter did not give commandments, but he gave many instructions. Following are a few of the instructions that he gave in chapter 2. Abstain from fleshly lusts, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
Peter also told us why we should behave with this sort of honorable conduct. Following are some of the reasons that he gave for these instructions in chapter 2. He said do these things so that those who speak against you as evildoers, may by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. In other words, our honorable conduct should be the testimony of our faith to the nonbelievers.
Next, in chapter 3, Peter continued to give instructions about how wives and husbands should treat each other and how believers should treat each other.
Next, in 1 Peter 3:15, while continuing to give instructions, Peter switched the subject from our testimony by honorable conduct to our testimony by words when he said “(Do not be afraid of the threats of those who can harm you, nor be troubled), but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
The hope that Peter is talking about here is the same living hope that he talked about in 1 Peter 1:3 which he later described as faith. Peter’s instruction in 1 Peter 3:15 confirms for us the obvious fact that our testimony must include a defense of the cause of our faith which is based on the word of God. For if we cannot defend our faith, then the testimony of our honorable conduct will appear to be foolishness.
Now in this age, the promise of salvation in which we have faith is well known to the nonbelievers, although it is not well understood, but the most powerful reason why the nonbelievers do not accept the promise of salvation is that they are unwilling to comply with the requirement that is associated with that promise which is repentance from sin.
In that case, it is immaterial for them to consider believing the word that they have rejected, but the instruction that are recorded in 1 Peter specify how to cause the nonbelievers to reconsider their position by being a witness of our faith in the Lord by being a humble and worthy example of the product of that faith.
However, even if or when the nonbeliever considers repentance from sin, the second most powerful reason why the nonbeliever rejects the promise of salvation is that he or she doubts the word of God, and the creation controversy is at the top of the list of causes for that doubt.
The problem is that modern knowledge about the age of God’s creation contradicts a previously established understanding of the word of God. Even if the subject is not raised by the nonbeliever, the concern about the age of the creation is implied by the nonbelievers doubt.
Therefore, the salvation of nonbelievers depends upon our defense of the word of God regarding the age of the earth as well as the other essential aspects of His word regarding our need for salvation and His loving merciful offer to provide it. The salvation of believers does not depend upon what they say to defend the word of God, but the salvation of nonbelievers depends upon what defense they hear from the believers.
The need for salvation of the nonbelievers should not be a motive for us to distort the truth that God has spoken to us in His word, but it is a good reason for us to carefully review His word to be sure that we can give the best truthful defense of the word of God when giving the defense of our faith.
Physical Evidence of Age
Before investigating what does the word of God say about the age of the earth, let us begin by considering what is the evidence in question. Otherwise, the subject of investigation would not be clearly defined.
Satan has influenced the presentation of modern knowledge about the age of the earth and the universe by using it to support the untrue conclusion that the evidence proves that God was not involved in the process of creating the universe and the earth and life on earth. For that reason, we the believers of God’s word reject evidence or reasoning which leads to a conclusion that is contrary to our faith.
However, if Satan mixes truth with lies, then he speaks half-truth. Consider the possibility that Satan is deceiving us with half-truth. By doing so, he could deceive the nonbelievers that they should reject the word of God, and he could deceive us, the believers that we should reject all of the modern knowledge about the age of the earth and universe as though it were all one big lie, so that when we argue against all of Satan’s half-truth, we may accidently speak half-truth in our defense of the word of God while Satan laughs. Such an evil scheme of deception would serve him very well.
The physical evidence of the universe and the earth supports the belief that it is very old, but not eternally old. For example, we can see galaxies which are so far away that it takes billions of years for the light to reach our eyes. We also can see mountains which are being formed by processes which are proceeding so slowly that it must have taken millions or billions of years for them to reach their current state. We also ride in transport vehicles which are powered by fuel which is made from fossil fuel which is taken from the earth having a chemical content indicating that it is a decomposed residue of life that existed billions of years ago. We also hear about fossil evidence of gradual change of living creatures from one type to another millions of years ago.
For those who doubt the evidence of age, this message includes a more detailed discussion about the as a subsection. Clicking on the name of the message should open a link to the message. It explains the information in a context where there is no doubt that God is the creator, and it is designed to enable the deepest possible understanding without requiring an education in science.
Comparing the Evidence with the Word of God
Of course, no other evidence can outweigh the word of God. So now that the subject is defined and the importance of its effect is identified, let us examine the word of God and what do men say about the word of God.
This message is approaching a point where it will provide new answers to old questions, but the importance of a new answer would not be apparent unless it can be compared to the well known answers. For that reason, it is necessary to first examine the well known questions and answers that come from both sides of the discussion about the age of the earth.
This message comes from a single source, and the same is true for most messages about this subject because it is the only way for either side to express the message in a stable format. When presenting a message from a single source about a subject about which many men disagree, it is common practice to avoid providing a good explanation of the best well known reasons for believing a conclusion that is contrary to the one that is presented as the proper choice. However, this section of this message explains the best well known questions and answers that come from both sides of the discussion about the age of the earth because failure to do so would diminish the value of any other answer that is not well known in the next section.
Furthermore, the new answers are not a complete replacement for all of the other well known answers. So it would be incomplete if it did not include some of the well known answers. The reader is invited to judge whether this message fulfills the promise and goal to provide a good explanation of the well known questions and answers that come from both sides of the discussion. The pursuit of that promise and goal is one of the reasons for the length of this section of the message.
Among those who believe that God created the earth, there are two sorts of belief about the age of the earth. Those who believe that the earth is young are commonly known as young earth believers, and their belief is called young earth creationism, but those who believe that the earth is old are commonly called old earth believers. To describe the reasons that are commonly presented by one sort of believer or the other, this message identifies them with those names. More information about these identities is provided later.
Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis describes what happened when God created the earth. It says that He created it in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. For each one of the first six days, it says “there was evening, and there was morning, the first day” and again except replacing the word “first” with “second” and “third” and so on.
The simplest interpretation of those words is that each of the six days were only 24 hours long. After that, the bible adds a few more thousand years to the age of the earth by providing the genealogy of a few men who lived on the earth. Based upon that evidence, we may say that the earth is only a few thousand years old which is very young in comparison to the other belief. Those who believe that each of the six days in which God created the earth were only 24 hours long are the young earth believers.
Before the discovery of the physical evidence of the age of the earth and universe, there was no reason to question the simplest interpretation of the word of God regarding the amount of time that He spent creating all things. For that reason, before the discovery of the physical evidence, all of the believers were young earth believers, and they didn’t even have that name because they had no question about the age of the earth.
However in this age, the question about the age of the earth is well known, and the believers must have an answer to the question. The answer to the question depends on what sort of evidence is included in the process that leads to the answer of choice.
In Romans 1:20-21, the word of God tells us “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
So the nonbelievers are accountable for having ignored the evidence that God has provided to them to make known His power and divine nature which have been clearly seen since the creation of the world. So because the nonbelievers are accountable for having ignored the evidence, the believers also should not ignore that evidence, especially when presenting a reason for faith to a nonbeliever who is confused by Satan’s deception about that evidence.
Now if we do not ignore the physical evidence and we also do not ignore the word of God, then we must search for a way to understand the word of God in a way that does not contradict the physical evidence which He has also provided. Fortunately, it is not difficult to find a way to understand the word of God in a way that does not contradict the physical evidence. It is called day age creationism, and it is usually the first defense that is offered by an old earth believer. It explains why in the record of creation, the word day may be understood to mean age.
The book of Genesis was first written in Hebrew at a time when there were very few words in that language. The English language has about 250,000 words, but Hebrew has only about 25,000 words which is why those fewer words have many more possible meanings. The Hebrew word “yom” was used to identify a period of 24 hours beginning at sunset or a day not including the night or an age or a period of time while certain events happened or a time when a certain event happened or other possible meanings.
The word “yom” was originally translated to other languages at a time when evidence about the age of the earth was not known, and at that time, it was translated to the sort of word which specifies a period of 24 hours, and at this time, the translation is stuck while men debate about translation, but it should have been translated to age.
However, in response to an explanation about day age creationism, the young earth believer may point out that the creation record states that for each day of creation, there was also an evening and morning, but the translation of a “yom” as an age does not account for the words evening and morning.
Actually, that is a very good reason for believing that the earth is young, and the old earth believers have ignored this issue. For that reason, the evenings and mornings of creation would be a plenty good enough reason to believe that the earth is young, if only there were no physical evidence or if only it were not so well known.
Now if we do not ignore the evenings and mornings in the word of God, then we must search for a way to understand the physical evidence in a way that does not contradict the word of God.
One possible answer to the problem is to say that no other evidence can outweigh the word of God. The word of God is without error. Therefore, any evidence to the contrary is in error. Actually, that is a good answer in favor of believing that the earth is young when a believer searches inward for peace of mind regarding this troublesome topic, and it is a good answer in favor of believing that the earth is young when the discussion is between two believers, but for the nonbelievers who ask why does the word of God contradict the physical evidence, that answer is a poor excuse for avoiding the question.
By avoiding the question, the speaker admits to having no answer to the question except for a suggestion that it doesn’t matter that the word of God contradicts the physical evidence. If the physical evidence were certainly all a deception, then that answer would be justified because we must not be deceived, but if the one who listens asks what evidence is a deception and what is truth, then it becomes necessary to separate truth from lies. That question is not even demanding proof. It is only asking for clarification when separating truth from lies within the physical evidence.
Physical evidence shows that the earth is round. If that is true, then where do the lies begin? Which parts of the section of this message are truth or a lie or a deception or a mistake?
At that point, the one who listens to the answer is justified by requiring the same quality of answer that is required by a juror who listens to an answer that is given in trial. At that point, if the speaker avoids the question again by skipping over the evidence and back to the conclusion which requires that the word of God is true, then at that point, the speaker has admitted to being unable to separate truth from lies within the evidence, and for that reason, the speaker is unable to justify the conclusion with or without proof. That ruins any more chance of giving a reason for faith.
The word of God is without error, but men are not all without error when interpreting the word of God. There are numerous conflicts between men about what is the proper interpretation of the word of God regarding numerous scriptures. Therefore, they are certainly not all without error. The question here is about which interpretation is correct, and which is in error. If the speaker claims to have proof because the word of God is without error, then the speaker is avoiding the question about interpretation, and that is not proof at all when the subject in the first place is a question about which interpretation of the word of God is an error.
If we examine Satan’s message about the physical evidence of the age of the earth, we have no reason to doubt that at least part of it is a lie because he has used the evidence to deceive the nonbelievers into rejecting the word of God by claiming that the evidence proves that God did not create the earth or the universe or life on earth. However, the question remains. Is the evidence certainly all a lie, or could part of it be true?
When men spend time and money to develop transport vehicles, navigation, communication, mining, weapons of war, medical care, law enforcement and weather forecast, they require tools that do not lie. If they discover that the tool lies, then they throw it out and look for a replacement that does not lie. Following is a list of a few such tools.
A telescope does not lie. It is a tool that enables us to see things that are very far away more clearly than we can see with our eyes. A microscope does not lie. It is a tool that enables us to see things that are very small more clearly than we can see with our eyes. A radar does not lie. It is a tool that enables us to measure the distance to things that are out of reach and how fast they are moving, even if there is no light. X rays do not lie. They are a type of light that can be used by a tool to see inside a man’s body without cutting him open. An infrared camera does not lie, it is a tool that enables us to see images based upon a sort of light that the human eye cannot see, and it enables us to tell the temperature of things that we cannot touch. DNA does not lie. It is a very complex molecule that can be measured and analyzed by tools which enable us to look back in time to discover who is the father of a woman’s child. When geologists measure and analyze the properties of soil, rock, coal and oil for the purpose of finding valuable metal and fossil fuel, they do not use tools that lie because if they did, then they would be fired by their employer who requires truthful evidence in the pursuit of profit.
A few years ago, these tools were new science, but now they are common practice. The tools that are used to measure the age of the earth and universe are built and tested using the same technology that supports the tools that are listed above. The tools do not lie. Men have built and tested these tools in the pursuit of truthful evidence for purposes that do not require proving or disproving the word of God. The lie begins at or somewhere before the point where someone declares that the evidence proves that there is no reason to believe that God has created these things.
How is it possible for the earth to be a few thousand years old, regardless of the evidence that is produced by all of the tools that men have built and tested in the pursuit of truthful evidence for purposes that do not require proving or disproving the word of God?
In response to that question, an old earth believer may say to the nonbeliever that the earth is not a few thousand years old, and the word of God does not say that it is a few thousand years old, and so it does not contradict the evidence that the earth is very old. So let us discuss the more important matters about our reason for faith, and let us discuss why we need salvation and how God offers it to us.
However, in response to the same question, if a young earth believer does not avoid the question in the ways that were described earlier, then the answer may be that God has created the earth with evidence of age beyond its true age. For example, when God created Adam and Eve, He must have made them in a mature state, because there was no woman's womb in which they could have been conceived, and if God had not created them in a mature state, then they would not have been able to survive while they were immature.
Likewise, when God created the earth, he must have created it in a mature state, because if God had not created the earth in a mature state, then the plants and animals and Adam and Eve would not have been able to survive on a planet covered with molten rock. So God created the earth in a mature state because it was necessary to do so when creating the earth and life on earth in only six days.
The evidence of age that is revealed by man-made tools is the evidence of things that never happened. The evidence exists because God created the earth and life on earth in six days in a mature state that would have required millions of years, if He had not created it in a mature state. The evidence of age is evidence of creation in a mature state.
The trouble with that answer is that anyone who knows much about the evidence of age can see that most of the evidence is not necessary to support life on earth. To identify what sort of evidence that is, this message identifies one sort of evidence with which we have abundant contact and one sort of evidence to which we have an abundant view, and neither one of them are necessary to support life on earth.
This message does not explore the subject of fossil bones of dinosaurs which are often spoken about as though they were evidence that God did not create life. Fossil fuels are an entirely different subject from fossil bones of dinosaurs. Fossil fuels are an entirely different sort of evidence of age which has nothing to do with dinosaurs. The dispute about fossil bones of dinosaurs is irrelevant to the subject of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are the materials that men take from the earth and convert into fuel which provides power to heaters and electrical power generators and cars and other sorts of transport vehicles. In that way, we have abundant contact with fossil fuels. They are also the materials that are causing the amount of carbon dioxide to increase in the earth’s atmosphere which is a cause for concern and dispute about global warming.
If God created fossil fuels in six days so that we may have access to them for power to drive our modern machinery, then He would not have needed to give them an appearance of age, but the evidence shows that fossil fuels are millions of years old because they are very much transformed by processes that work very slowly, and they are not necessary to support life on earth.
Furthermore, the stars are not necessary to support life on earth. The word of God says that He created the stars, and the stars have an appearance of age, but young earth believers and old earth believers and nonbelievers all have no knowledge about a reason for why stars could be necessary to support life on earth.
Consider three possible ways for the stars to have their appearance of age. One way is that they really are old. The stars look like the sun which is very large except that the stars appear to be very far away. We see much less light from the stars than we do from the sun because they are so far away that the light would take millions of years to reach our eyes while traveling at the speed of light. A second way for stars to have an appearance of age is that God is currently presenting to us an ultrahigh definition picture of stars which don’t really exist at all.
A third way for stars to have an appearance of age is that God has created very many small objects in outer space which are not very far away from the earth, and they look like stars because God is currently causing them to radiate light so that they look like very small stars which look like very small versions of the sun, but they are too small to be stars because they are much smaller than the sun.
They cannot be stars like the sun because the sun is radiating light because it is very hot because it is being heated by nuclear fusion, which requires very high inner pressure, which requires very high gravitational field strength, which requires very high mass, which requires very large size, but small objects in outer space such as planets and asteroids don’t have enough to do all of that, which is why they don’t radiate light like the sun, which is why they are not stars. For more information about this subject see the .
If the stars are not radiating light for the same reason as the sun, then why do they radiate light at all? And why do the fossil fuels have an appearance of age? If we require that the earth is young, then the remaining answer is to avoid the technical question, which is no better than if the subject of God creating evidence of age had never been brought up. Avoiding the technical question is equivalent to admitting that the defender of the word of God is unable to tell the nonbelievers how to separate truth from lies within the technical evidence which Satan is using to deceive the nonbelievers.
It is reasonable to assume that God created Adam and Eve in a mature state because it would be necessary for them to survive. However, the same reason does not apply to most of the evidence of the age of the earth and stars because He created many things and many sorts of evidence that are not necessary to support life on earth. By doing so, He would be deceiving us with evidence of things that never happened, and He would be contradicting His own word, and the explanation for why this would be necessary is not valid for the evidence of things that are not necessary to support life on earth.
Furthermore, it is even more important to realize that the evidence of things that never happened would be a deception, but God does not lie. That statement is worthy of a whole sermon, but to avoid departure from the subject, this message will simply refer the readers to the scriptures regarding this subject which are Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18. Even the nonbeliever can see trouble with evidence that is presented in the record of creation which is spoken by the same God who presents evidence of things that never happened.
However, a young earth believer may suggest that God is testing our faith by requiring us to believe His word even though He has presented evidence that is contrary to His own word.
However, an old earth believer may respond to that suggestion by stating that the previously presented scriptures regarding the fact that God cannot lie are sufficient to prove that the suggestion is not true. Secondly, if God is testing our faith by requiring us to believe His word regarding the record of creation, then we should recognize that His word includes many subjects that are difficult to understand, and creation is one of them, but such difficulties or mysteries do not include deception or false evidence which is deception.
However, a young earth believer may point out that the fact remains that the Genesis record of creation says that there was evening and morning for each of the six days of creation, and for that reason, all of the physical evidence and all of the problems with the defense of the belief that the earth is young are not enough to outweigh the word of God.
However, an old earth believer may point out that the word of God has many figures of speech, and the physical evidence is enough to prove that the evenings and mornings are a figure of speech for the beginning and end of each of the ages.
However, a young earth believer may point out that men should not change the meaning of the word of God to make it say whatever they please, and yet that is what the old earth believer has done.
However, an old earth believer may point out that forbidding a change to the belief about the meaning of the word of God is based on the assumption that its meaning was understood properly in the first place, and that is what the young earth believer has assumed. Young earth and old earth believers have a good reason to resist a change of belief about the meaning of the word of God because changes of belief about the meaning of His word are the primary means of developing new sorts of belief which may impair or prevent the salvation of those who believe, but in the case of belief about the age of the earth, resisting change has the opposite effect.
Many years ago, men believed the literal meaning of the record of creation because they had no reason to believe otherwise, but that does not prove that they were right, and it does not prove that we must not change from what men believed in the past after we learn more.
Regarding salvation, consider what would be the effect upon the salvation of a believer of the word of God who is wrong in belief about the age of earth. The effect would be no more significant than what would happen to a believer who is wrong about the interpretation of a prophecy that predicts the destruction of Jerusalem. In other words, it has no effect at all because it is not related to anything that is essential for the salvation of the believer. This is true regardless of whether the earth really is young or old, but there is a very different problem for the nonbeliever.
The problem is that in this age, nonbelievers who might otherwise consider repentance from sin are impaired by doubting the word of God, primarily due to the defense of believe that the earth is young. Most of the nonbelievers don’t know or don’t care about evenings and mornings. So it is not a burden unless we make it a burden which impairs there salvation.
For that reason, resisting this change of belief is causing a loss of salvation rather than preventing it. In many cases, changes of belief about the meaning of the word of God are the primary means of developing new sorts of belief which may impair or prevent the salvation of those who believe, but in the case of belief about the age of the earth, the effect is opposite.
However, a young earth believer may point out that it is dangerous to anger God, and that would be the consequence of distorting the word of God for the sake of making it agree with the knowledge of men.
However, an old earth believer may point out that it is dangerous to anger God, and that would be the consequence of ignoring the evidence of his work which He has made known to men when that choice leads to the loss of salvation of those whom He would gladly welcome into His kingdom. If the believer is not sure which choice is an error, and if the believer wishes to make the safe choice, then consider which one of these two errors would anger God most.
However, a young earth believer may refer to a scientific source of evidence that claims to prove that the earth is young or devalue some of the evidence that the earth is old.
However, an old earth believer may point out that the young earth believer is not qualified to verify the credibility of the source to which they are referring. Even if they were qualified, they would be proclaiming scientific evidence which comes from a source that has no credibility for the listening nonbeliever or the old earth believers. The young earth believer may provide a reference to a source of scientific information which claims to have credibility, but those who listen to the answer have no evidence of that credibility, and they will not investigate the reference. That makes it worthless for enabling discussion to proceed beyond debate about the age of the earth and onward to the more important issues of salvation.
An old earth believer may also point out that 2 Peter 3:8 tells us "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (NIV). And that proves that the definition for the word day should not be applied so strictly regarding the Lord’s reckoning of time in His word.
However, a young earth believer may say that 2 Peter 3:8 is in a context that is not related to the subject of creation, which makes it irrelevant for the subject of creation.
A young earth believer may also point out that even if a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, then the six days are like six thousand years, which are far too few to reach the billions of years that are required for the old earth believer to show how the six days of God’s creation could be equal to the physical evidence of the age of the earth.
To summarize, both sorts of belief about the age of the earth have good points, and both sides have answers for the other. The answers in favor of an old earth are more complicated than those that are in favor of a young earth. For that reason, for the believers of the word of God, it may be easier to favor belief in a young earth, but for the nonbelievers, the easy answer is a powerful cause for doubting the word of God, which is a powerful cause for their loss of salvation. However, the answers in favor of an old earth do not include a good answer to the question about evenings and mornings.
Six Days in the Sight of the Lord
So far, this message has explained why day age believers and young earth believers are in a dead lock, and the listening nonbelievers are a hung jury. Now let us consider new answers to old questions which can upset the dead lock and save some of the jurors. The plan is to provide good answers to the tough questions while staying on the topic of those questions rather than avoiding the questions by outweighing them with non sequiturs.
The earth and the universe appear to be very old. How is it possible for God to create the universe and the earth with an appearance of age that is far greater than what He said and yet, let there be no deception at all? 2 Peter 3:8 tells us "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (NIV), and the context of those words is not related to the creation, but that is not the end of it.
When Peter wrote those words, he said “but do not forget this one thing, dear friends” because he was telling them about something that was already known before he wrote it. He was referring to Psalm 90:1-6 which provides a much better foundation for answers to the tough questions that are commonly presented by the believers of young earth creation. Psalm 90 is a record of the prayer of a man to the Lord. The book of Psalm was collected by the Israelites who say that Moses was the author of Psalm 90, and he is also the author of Genesis. Following is a quotation of the first six versus of Psalm 90.
(NKJV Psalm 90:1) Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. (2) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (3) You turn man to destruction, and say, “Return, O children of men.” (4) For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. (5) You carry them away like a flood; They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: (6) In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers.
NIV states verse 3 in a different way as follows. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
The main subject of Psalm 90 is mourning the wrath of God which He pours out upon us by destroying us and our work as the penalty for our sins according to Genesis 3:17-19, and it includes a request for wisdom to enable us to make the best of our few years.
The main subject of Psalm 90 is introduced by making a comparison between how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man. The comparison begins in verses 1 and 2 which lists three periods of time which the Lord has seen or will see and which no man has seen more than a small fraction. They are “all generations” and the creation and “from everlasting to everlasting”. The creation is identified by “the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world.”
The first and last items on that list are certainly long periods of time, and the creation happened a long time ago, although these verses do not say that the creation took a long time or short. Verse 3 switches to the opposite side of the comparison by describing the destruction of man according to Genesis 3:19 as evidence of the short life time of man.
Therefore, Psalm 90:1-3 makes a comparison between how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man, and the creation is within the comparison, even if men dispute about how it fits into the comparison.
After comparing how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man in verses 1-3, verse 4 makes another comparison of the same contrast by comparing a thousand years to a day or a watch in the night. Therefore, the creation is in the context of Psalm 90:4 because Psalm 90:1-3 and verse 4 are both making a comparison between how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man, and the creation is within the comparison that is made in verses 1-3.
After comparing how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man in Psalm 90:1-3, verse 4 make another comparison of the same contrast, and then verses 5-6 make another comparison of the same contrast by comparing the life span of a man to the time span from evening to morning. Therefore, the creation is in the context of Psalm 90:5-6 because Psalm 90:1-3 and verse 4 and verses 5-6 are all comparing the same thing which is how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man, and the creation is within the comparison that is made in verses 1-3.
Also, verses 5-6 use evening and morning rather than a day or watch in the night. Therefore, the creation is in the context of the evening and morning that are described in Psalm 90:5-6. Also, Psalm 90:10 quantifies that life span by saying that “our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures.” So an evening and morning are like seventy or eighty years.
Now seventy years and a thousand years and a sixth of the age of the creation are three different numbers, and those numbers will be compared later on in this message, but at this point, the number will simply be called a thousand years because that is the most commonly used number to describe a long time in biblical terms. The evenings and mornings will also be examined more.
Now after examining content and context, consider what these verses can tell us about the creation.
Verse 1 says, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations”, which makes it clear that the writer has recorded a prayer to the Lord. Therefore, if we speak to each other about the Lord rather than pray to Him, then verse 4 tells us that “For a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night”. 2 Peter 3:8 also replaced the word “Your” with “the Lord”.
The Lord God saw the formation of His own creation. The Genesis record of creation is His record of His own work according to His own sight, and men did not see it. So, all of the days and nights and evenings and mornings of creation were all in the sight of the Lord, and that is the sort of sight that Psalm 90:4 is talking about when it says that “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night”.
Now recall the question which led to the examination of Psalm 90:1-6. How is it possible for God to create the universe and the earth with an appearance of age that is far greater than what He said and yet, let there be no deception at all? The answer is that according to Psalm 90:1-6, a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. So according to the way He saw it, it took only 6 days, and He recorded it according to the way He saw it, but according to the way we see it, it took much longer, and the physical evidence shows more detail about what we can see with our eyes. So the appearance of age is due to the difference between His perception of time and ours.
The difference of appearance is not a deception because He told us about the difference between His perception of time and ours. He told us about it in Psalm 90:1-6. This should be an acceptable answer to the question for those who can accept that creation is part of the subject of Psalm 90:1-6.
Psalm 90:2 says “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” This makes it clear that the description of the Lord’s perception of time applied to the past as well as the future. The choice of words in verse 4 to describe a day are “yesterday when it is past”, which correlates with the creation which is also mentioned in verse 2. Of course, yesterday was a day, and the words “from everlasting to everlasting” identify both past and future. Therefore, according to Psalm 90:4, a thousand years are like a day in the past or the future, and Peter confirmed that fact when (in 2 Peter 3:8) he quoted from Psalm 90:4 by saying that “a day is like a thousand years” when waiting for the second coming of Christ in the future.
This answer is much more acceptable than an answer which requires those who listen to accept that God has deceived us by presenting false evidence to us about the age of His creation, and it is much more acceptable than an answer that ignores the physical evidence, and it is much more credible than an answer that requires those who listen to trust the credibility of an unknown so-called scientific source which claims to have proof that the earth is young.
Psalm 90:5-6 makes a statement that is similar to Psalm 90:4 except that it compares the time from morning to evening with the life span of a man rather than comparing a day to a thousand years, and Psalm 90:10 says that the life span of man is 70 or 80 years. Connecting these facts together and choosing the lower of two numbers tells us that an evening and morning are like 70 years.
Now 70 years and 1000 years are two different numbers, and those numbers will be compared later on in this message, but at this point, the number will be treated the same as 1000 years because it would be too confusing to deal with two subjects at once. The first and most important subject is that this is an evening and morning rather than a day.
Psalm 90:5-6, 10 tells us that an evening and morning are like far more than 24 hours, and the reason why that fact is in the context of creation was explained earlier in this message. That alone is enough to disprove the need for a requirement to have only 24 hours in each day of creation due to the presence of the words evening and morning in the record of creation.
Psalm 90:4 also provides more evidence that can prove the same point because its statement includes night as well as day, and because there is an evening and morning for each night and day. The evenings and mornings in Psalm 90:4 are a reinforcement to the proof that is provided by Psalm 90:5-6, 10.
The process of proving the same point by using Psalm 90:4 is more complicated than it is for Psalm 90:5-6, 10 because it requires explaining a term “watch in the night”, and because it is necessary to explain why resisting the requirement that there is an evening and morning for each night and day would be useless for the defense of belief that the earth is young.
It is very important for this message to show evidence about the evenings and mornings because if it did not, then it would be no better than a message that says that a day is an age and ignores the evenings and mornings or states that they are symbolic without explaining what the symbols mean and what is the evidence of such a meaning for the symbol.
Recall why it is necessary to consider the evenings and mornings. It is necessary because the presence of the words evening and morning in the record of creation are the only good reason for questioning the interpretation of the original language Hebrew word “yom” to mean an age rather than a day. If the meaning of evening and morning is figurative, then the figure can allow a day to be an age, but if the meaning is literal, then it can rule out an age.
If the evenings and mornings must be interpreted as literal, then there must be only one day for each evening and morning, and that is not the only effect. The record of creation does not say that there was or was not a night, but if the literal meaning of evening and morning requires that there must be only one day for each evening and morning, then the same requirement must also apply to the night because there cannot be a literal evening and morning and day without a literal night. The following figure shows how the literal nights must be arranged among the literal evenings and mornings and days.
To express in words, the meaning of this figure that shows each evening and morning of creation, it may be said that “a night is a period of time that begins in the evening and ends in the morning, and a day is a period of time that begins in the morning and ends in the evening.” The same fact may be expressed with fewer words by stating that “The time from evening to morning is a night, and the time from morning to evening is a day.”
That statement is presented as fact in the analysis that is presented next. If it were not true, or if it could not be applied to the scriptural record of creation, then the literal interpretation of an evening and morning would not be required for the record of creation, and in that case, there would be no good reason why the word “yom” should not be interpreted to mean an age, and in that case, there would be no good reason why we should not accept that the earth is old.
That issue is expressed by the words “Otherwise, a day could be an age.” after the previous statement about the time from evening to morning and from morning to evening.
The following figure is a short version of the message regarding 3 collections of fact about evenings and mornings of creation. The figure is followed by an explanation of its content. The figure has 5 blocks showing statements of fact which are explained in this message with evidence for why the facts are true. The figure also has 3 blocks showing collections of fact which show the conclusions which are based on the information that is shown in the blocks which have arrows pointing to the conclusion. The explanation that follows refers to the 8 blocks in red text with the names first block, second block, third block and so on.
According to Psalm 90:4, a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like a “watch in the night”, and it was explained earlier why Psalm 90:1-6 is applicable to the subject of creation. To understand what is a watch in the night, it may be helpful to search the internet for “bible watch in the night”, which would produce numerous explanations stating that in Israel at the time when the Bible was written, a watch in the night was a fourth of a night, and for that reason, a night is 4 watches in the night. These are the facts that are stated in the first and second block of the figure.
In the first block, the statement that “a night is 4 watches in the night” is a statement of equality. For that reason, “a watch in the night” may be replaced by “a night” with a factor of 4 in any other statement that refers to “a watch in the night”. In this case, that replacement is performed on the statement of the second block, and the result is expressed in the third block as “a night is like 4 thousand years”.
According to Psalm 90:4, a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are like “yesterday when it is past”, and it was explained earlier why that statement is equivalent to saying that a day is like a thousand years, which is confirmed by 2 Peter 3:8. That is the fact that is stated in the fourth block of the figure. Throughout the figure, it may be understood that a thousand years is not an exact number, but it is treated like an exact number until the last step, so that there may be no confusion about the effect of requiring a literal interpretation of a thousand years.
The statement of fact in the fifth block was explained earlier in the discussion about the figure that shows that each evening and morning of creation had a night and a day. The statement of fact is that “The time from evening to morning is a night, and the time from morning to evening is a day. Otherwise, a day may be an age.”
In the fifth block, the statement that “the time from evening to morning is a night” is a statement of equality. For that reason, “a night” may be replaced by “the time from evening to morning” in any other statement that refers to “a night”. In this case, that replacement is performed on the statement of the third block, and the result is expressed in the sixth block as “the time from evening to morning is like 4 thousand years”.
In the fifth block, the statement that “the time from morning to evening is a day” is a statement of equality. For that reason, “a day” may be replaced by “the time from morning to evening” in any other statement that refers to “a day”. In this case, that replacement is performed on the statement of the forth block, and the result is expressed in the sixth block as “the time from morning to evening is like a thousand years”.
Earlier in this message, an explanation was given for why evening and morning are in the context of the comparisons that are made in Psalm 90:1-6. The explanation is based on Psalm 90:5-6 which compares the life span of man directly to the time from morning to evening rather than comparing it to a day and converting it into the time from morning to evening by the reasoning that is provided in the fifth and sixth block. Psalm 90:10 provides 70 or 80 years for the life span of man that is compared in verses 5-6. This information is presented in the seventh block. It stands without need for input of information or reasons from any other blocks.
The sixth block shows that the time from evening to morning is like 4000 years. The sixth and seventh blocks show that the time from morning to evening is like 70 or 80 or 1000 years. Each evening and morning has a time from evening to morning plus a time from morning to evening. Adding them together in that way provides 4000 + 1000 = 5000 years or at least 4000 + 70 = 4070 years. In the eighth block, that number is rounded down to 1000 years so that it does not express more precision than what was intended by the original messages in scripture, and the numbers are added together here.
The fact that an evening and morning are like a thousand years is one of the most important points in this whole message. Unlike the belief in day age creation, this message does not avoid the evenings and mornings. The evenings and mornings were in the sight of the Lord. They were events that the Lord saw with His own perception of time, and He recorded them according to the way He saw them.
Are the evenings and mornings of creation figurative or literal? If they are literal, then the three collections of fact about evenings and mornings of creation prove that the earth could be old without contradicting the word of God by using a literal interpretation of Psalm 90:1-6 to define evenings and mornings in the sight of the Lord. If the evenings and mornings are figurative, then the three collections of fact are not necessary to prove that the earth may be old without contradicting the word of God. Therefore, the same conclusion is proven, regardless of whether they are figurative or literal.
Now if someone says that 70 or 1000 years are too few to match the physical evidence, and if the one who says this truly believes that the issue is worthy of a response, then a response must be provided. First of all, it is more practical and reasonable to understand that a number like 70 or 1000 years should not be interpreted as literal and exact when applying it to the context of creation, but if the one who says that 70 or 1000 years are too few requires numbers, then numbers must be provided.
Declaring that 70 or 1000 years are too few without considering the following numbers would be convenient like declaring that a day is an age without considering the evenings and mornings.
The big bang happened 13.8 billion years ago. Converting that into days provides 13.8 billion years x 365 days per year = 5037 billion days, and dividing that by 6 days of Gods work provides a conversion factor of 840 billion.
On the other hand, according to Psalm 90:4, the 1000 years x 365 days per year for each day of God’s work provides a conversion factor of 365000, and according to Psalm 90:5-6, 10, the 70 years x 365 days per year for each evening and morning of God’s work provides a conversion factor of 25550.
So when God created the universe in 6 days, He used a conversion factor of 840 billion, and according to Psalm 90:4 the literal conversion factor is 365000, and according to Psalm 90:5-6, 10, the literal conversion factor is 25550. Therefore, God must have applied His literal conversion more than once. Now consider how many times He applied the conversion.
If a man invests money in the market and received 5 times as much as he invested, then his money grows by a factor of 5 (very nice). If the market works the same way when he invests his money again, then his money grows by a factor of 5 x 5 = 25 (not 5 + 5 = 10). The same principle applies for God if He applies His literal conversion factor more than once.
In the case of Psalm 90:4, if God applied the literal factor of 365000 twice, then the result would be 365000 x 365000 = 133 billion, and that is almost enough to reach the factor of 840 billion that He used for creation, but if He applied the literal factor three times, then the result would be 58000 times too much. So it must have been a little more than twice. The number works out to 2.144 because 365000 to the power of 2.144 = 840 billion within 1%.
In the case of Psalm 90:5-6, 10, if God applied the literal factor of 25550 twice, then the result would be 25550 x 25550 = 653 million, and that is much less than the factor of 840 billion that He used for creation, but if He applied the literal factor three times, then the result would be 20 times too much. So it must have been more than twice. The number works out to 2.705 because 25550 to the power of 2.705 = 840 billion within 1%.
Now all of these numbers are only for those who require numbers. The literal word of God differs from the physical evidence by no more than what it would mean if He applied His literal word 2.144 times or 2.705 times. These numbers are provided so that those who require numbers may see how small is the issue regarding numbers.
Now a believer of young earth creation could object to the use of Psalm 90:1-6 by pointing out that it is only one scripture, and saying that we should not use one scripture to support such an important doctrine. However, the believer of young earth creation also uses only one scripture to support the opposite doctrine about the same important subject. The words “evening and morning” appear six times in the Genesis record of creation, but they all describe the same sort of event within the same scriptural message, and the only reason why the words appear six times is because the events happened six times.
The words “evening and morning” in the Genesis record of creation are the foundation of the best defense of young earth creation, but those words are in only one scripture, and Psalm 90:1-6 is only one scripture which supports the conclusion that each of those evenings and mornings are like a thousand years. So if we must count the number of scriptures about “evening and morning”, then they are one for one.
Of course, this theological reasoning based on Psalm 90:1-6 does not prove that the earth and universe are old, but it proves that they could be old in the sight of man without contradicting the word of God. That should enable us to consider the physical evidence of age which is embedded in the evidence of God’s creation which He has provided to us as evidence of His existence and power (Romans 1:20-21). That alone should be good enough to prove that the earth is old in the sight of man.
Furthermore, according to the Genesis record of creation, God did not create the sun until the fourth day. It says that there was darkness and light, and it says that there was evening and morning according to God’s record of what He saw before He created man, but He did not create the sun until the fourth day. Therefore, God must have made some other light source before He created the sun, and the first three evenings and mornings could not be defined by rotations of the earth with respect to the sun which did not yet exist.
They were events that God saw from His position in Heaven rather than events that men could see when looking at the heavens from earth. After accepting that the first three days were days in the sight of the Lord, there should be no trouble accepting that the same is also true for the remaining four days. Note that the scriptural evidence that the sun was not created until the fourth day does not require referring to any scripture outside of the Genesis record of creation, and it does not involve disputing the definition of a “yom”.
The summery of this theological reasoning is that a day of creation is a day in the sight of the Lord which is far more than 24 hours long in the sight of man. The earth is young in the sight of the Lord, and it is old in the sight of man. Genesis 1 is the Lords record of His work according to the way He saw it. The physical evidence is the evidence in the sight of man. The difference of appearance between the physical evidence and the record in Genesis 1 is due to the difference of perception of time between man and the Lord which is identified in Psalm 90:1-6 and 2 Peter 3:8.
Therefore, there is no reason to dispute about the physical evidence. According to Psalm 90:2, the subject of Psalm 90:1-6 includes creation. Psalm 90:1-6 compares a thousand years to night time as well as day time in the sight of the Lord, and the evenings and mornings of creation are the transitions between the days and nights and days in the sight of the Lord which are each like a thousand years according to Psalm 90:1-6.
This message explains sight of the Lord creationism which differs from day age creationism because it identifies two perceptions of time rather the two interpretations of the word that has been interpreted as day, and because it directly connects to the subject of the evenings and mornings in the record of creation. Sight of the Lord creationism and day age creationism are two independent paths of reasoning which both produce the conclusion that the physical evidence of the age of the earth and universe does not contradict the word of God.
Evidence by Testimony of the Witness
The listening nonbeliever may be satisfied that the bible record of creation could be interpreted in a way that is compatible with the currently available evidence about the age of the earth, but that alone may not be enough to convince the listening nonbeliever that there is a God or that He created the earth.
In a court of law, the judge or jury may consider the testimony of a witness as well as the physical evidence and the evidence in the record. Perhaps, if God would take the witness stand in our court of law and defend His words and prove His mighty power, then the listening nonbeliever would have no reason to doubt the word of God, including His record of how He created the universe and the earth and life.
Actually, God did take the witness stand by sending His son to earth for a few years. The son of God lived on earth among men (John 1:1-5, John 1:14, Matt 3:13-17, Matt 17:1-5), and He told men who He is (Matt 16:13-17, Mark 14:57-64, John 8:12-59), and He proved it by performing miracles (Matt 4:23-25, Matt 9:27-34, Matt 12:22-23, Matt 15:29-31, Mark 1:40-42, Mark 10-46-52, John 9:1-41, John 11:1-44), and He defended His father’s word, but they gave Him an unfair trial and killed Him (Luke 23:1-46). The greatest miracle of all that He performed was that he rose from the dead (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 30).
He did not talk about the age of the earth because there was no need for Him to talk about the age of the earth at that time, but He said that He is the son of God, and He made many references to that part of the word of God which is now known as the Old Testament and includes the record of creation. That made it pointless for men to ask Him “Is there a God?” or “Did God create the earth?”, and it would also be pointless for us to ask Him the same questions today. Therefore, the one who came to earth and performed miracles has testified about the creation by testifying about Himself.
Now and in the future, no one can put Him on trial again, but He will eventually put us all on trial (Matt 13:24-43, Matt 25:31-46, Rev 20:11-15). In the meantime, our path depends on whether we choose to believe Him or not (John 12:46-48). A careful review of the whole testimony would probably be enough to convince the listening nonbeliever to believe.
Our security depends on more than just a belief that there is a God and that He created all things. If our knowledge about the age of the earth and stars does not obstruct our path, then there is still another obstruction which is far greater than all the others. Our sins are the primary reason why we are separated from God, and His mercy is not an automatic consequence of our belief in Him (Isaiah 59:1-3, Romans 6, James 2:19).
God has exercised His mercy by providing a path to salvation which enables us to escape from the second death, but it will not work unless we travel it before the first death. Just like the creation, there is also a lot of confusion about what is our path to salvation. These scriptures (Rom 10:10, Luke 13:3-5, Act 2:38, Act 8:38-39) tell us that after hearing the word of God and believing it, our path to salvation begins by confessing our faith that Jesus is the son of God, repenting of our sins (stop sinning) and being baptized (body immersed in water) for the forgiveness of our sins.
Christian fellowships are eager to help us understand these words and carry out these steps.
Grace and peace to all of you in the search for truth.
From your brother in Christ, Ralph Griffin, July 26, 2020