Thousands are like Billions of Years
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Did God create the earth, and if so, then how long did it take for Him to do it? The answer to the second question is a quarrel about words. The root of the quarrel is regarding the meaning of the word day. Some believe that each day of creation was an age, but others believe that the earth is young because each day of creation was only 24 hours long. The quarrel includes many statements which are expressed by different believers to support different beliefs.
One of those statements is the reference to 2 Peter 3:8 which says that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and applying that scripture to the genesis record of creation shows that a day of creation is actually much more than 24 hours long which explains why the physical evidence shows that it was much more than a few days. However, the believers of young earth creation may point out problems with the use of 2 Peter 3:8 by showing that the context of 2 Peter 3:8 is not regarding creation and by showing that 2 Peter 3:8 does not account for the evening and morning for each day of creation. Those subjects are carefully examined in the main section of this message under the title . Clicking on the name of the message here should open a link to the message. One small part of that message is repeated here, by pointing out that Psalm 90:4 tells us the same thing as 2 Peter 3:8, and Psalm 90:2 makes it clear that the subject includes creation.
One more problem with the use of 2 Peter 3:8 is the fact that even if a day is like a thousand years, then a literal interpretation of that meaning would tell us that the 6 days of creation are like 6 thousand years which are far too few to reach the billions of years that are claimed for the age of the earth by those who say that a day is an age.
The common response to that objection is to say that the words “thousand years” in 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 are a figurative description for “a very long time” and certainly much longer than the life span of a man. Therefore, the words “thousand years” may be understood to be a figurative description for “billions of years” when applying those words to the subject of the physical evidence of the age of the creation.
However, that response requires that those who here it must accept that the words are figurative, and anyone who disputes or questions the conclusion may dispute the evidence that supports the conclusion, simply by requiring that the words “thousand years” should be interpreted as literal rather than figurative. In that case, it would be worthy of a response that allows a literal interpretation of a “thousand years” and still arrives at a conclusion that a day is like billions of years.
Of course, the words “is like” do not mean “is equal to”, but anyone who disputes or questions the conclusion may object to an excessive liberty of interpreting the meaning of the words “is like” in the process of comparing 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 to the physical evidence of billions of years.
Now, the response to that objection is that we should calculate just how much liberty is involved before declaring that it is too much. Only after examining the number, would it be possible to support a conclusion about whether that number is or is not too much. That response is the subject of the remaining portion of this message.
According to 2 Peter 3:8, with the Lord, a thousand years are like a day, and Psalm 90:4 tells us the same thing in a context that includes creation. It is obvious from the context of the scriptures that they are saying that a long time (a thousand years) of the earth is like a short time (a day) of the Lord. However, in the explanation that follows, it would become nonobvious which number is regarding earth and which number is regarding the Lord, unless they have labels that identify them for which is which. So, adding labels to the statement provides “a thousand years of earth are like a day of the Lord”.
So it appears that the Lord has some sort of fast forward control that enables Him to see a thousand years of the earth within just one day of His own. The question here is: How far did the Lord adjust His fast forward setting specified in 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 to reach from the big bang to the creation of Adam and Eve in just 6 of His days? The amount of that adjustment is the amount of liberty that we apply to the meaning of the words “is like” when we understand or explain how the messages in 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 can apply to our current understanding of the physical evidence of the age of His creation.
To answer the question “How far did the Lord adjust His fast forward setting?” it is necessary to define “What was the fast forward setting?” For that purpose, the fast forward setting is abbreviated as FFS, and its value is define as FFS = the number of days of earth ÷ the number of days of the Lord for the same period. If the period on earth is described in years, then it is converted into days by multiplying by 365 day/year, so that the FFS = the number of years of earth × 365 day/year ÷ the number of days of the Lord for the same period.
The answer to the question “How far did the Lord adjust His fast forward setting?” is the subject of the following figure. The simple answer is stated by the title of the figure, and the explanation for that answer can be found in these words, and it is summarized in the figure.
The first block shows what was the Lord’s fast forward setting throughout the period of time that is described by the Gospel. According to the Gospel, it appears that the Lord’s fast forward control was turned off because He experienced every day of the earth at the same rate as all others who were on the earth at the same time. That fact is expressed by the words “According to the Gospel, while the Lord lived among us on earth, 1 day of the earth was like 1 day of the Lord. So His FFS was off.” According to the previously defined meaning of FFS, its value in this case is 1 day of earth ÷ 1 day of the Lord = 1. Also, 1 = 365000 to the power of 0, and the reason for that statement is revealed in the next block.
The next block shows the meaning of Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. For reasons that were explained earlier, the message is “a thousand years of earth are like a day of the Lord”, and after adding the reference and converting words into numbers the message is “According to Psalm 90:4 and 2 Pet 3:8, 1000 years of earth are like 1 day of the Lord”. According to the previously defined meaning of FFS, its value in this case is 1000 years of earth × 365 day/year ÷ 1 day of the Lord = 365000. That number 365000 is based on literal interpretation of the scripture, and for that reason, it is the basis for comparing other values of FFS to the literal interpretation. In this block, the literal FFS = 365000 = 365000 to the power of 1. In the previous block, FFS according to the Gospel = 1 = 365000 to the power of 0. The figure of 365 is rounded to 3 significant digits.
The next block shows what if the Lord speaks His literal power twice, or to put it another way, what if He applies it twice or raises it to the power of 2. According to the literal interpretation of Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8, His FFS = 365000, but if He applies that setting twice then His FFS = 365000 × 365000 = 133 billion which is = 365000 to the power of 2. The figure of 133 billion is rounded to 3 significant digits.
The last block shows what if He reached from the big bang to the creation of Adam and Eve in just 6 of His days. The currently popular estimate for the age of the big bang is 13.8 billion years. According to the previously defined meaning of FFS, its value in this case is 13.8 billion years of earth (or universe) × 365 day/year ÷ 6 day of the Lord = 839.5 billion which is = 365000 to the power of 2.1437. So to reach from the big bang to the creation of Adam and Eve in 6 of His days, the Lord would raise His literal FFS of 365000 to the power of 2.1437. Reusing the analogy that was used for the case where the Lord speaks His literal power twice, we may say that He spoke it twice with a little emphasis. The figure of 2.1437 is rounded to 5 significant digits. The same figure is 2.14 when rounded to 3 significant digits.
Now recall the question that led to a value of 2.14. The question here was: How far did the Lord adjust His fast forward setting specified in 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 to reach from the big bang to the creation of Adam and Eve in just 6 of His days? The amount of that adjustment is the amount of liberty that we apply to the meaning of the words “is like” when we understand or explain how the messages in 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 can apply to our current understanding of the physical evidence of the age of His creation.
Now the answer to the previous question is that He raised it to the power of 2.14. The next question is: Is the power of 2.14 too much liberty for the meaning of the words “is like” to show how the word of God does not contradict the physical evidence of billions of years? The answer is that certainly, 2.14 is not too much. Therefore, the statement that “a day is like a thousand years” is enough to explain how six days of the Lord can reach across billions of years, even when requiring a literal meaning. On the other hand, if a literal meaning is not required, then this calculation is not required.
Psalm 90:1-3, Psalm 90:4 and Psalm 90:5-6 each make a comparison of how long is the amount of time that the Lord can see to how short is the time for a man. In the case of Psalm 90:5-6, the comparison connects directly to evenings and mornings without depending on any reasoning that converts from “a day is like a thousand years” (based on Psalm 90:4) to “an evening and morning are like a thousand years”. In the case of Psalm 90:5-6, the comparison connects evenings and mornings to the like span of a man, and in Psalm 90:10, that life span is called 70 or 80 years.
Therefore, even if the reasoning that converts from “a day is like a thousand years” to “an evening and morning are like a thousand years” were in question, there would still be a connection from an evening and morning to 70 years based on Psalm 90:5-6,10. The remaining question here is what happens to the numbers that were shown in the preceding figure if 1000 years are replaced by 70 years. The answer is that in that case, 356000 is replaced by 25550, and 133 billion is replaced by 653 million, and 2.1437 is replaced by 2.705 which is only 26.2% more than before.
Technically speaking, it is possible to produce a linear solution rather than an exponential solution. The preceding analysis produced an exponential solution, but it could be replaced by a linear solution by replacing “= 365000 to the Power of 2.1437” with “= 365000 × 2.3 million” in the preceding figure. In that case, to reach from the big bang to Adam and Eve in six days, the Lord would have to raise His literal power by a factor of 2.3 million rather than a power of 2.14.
We may choose either solution because both are mathematically valid. We may glorify the Lord by choosing the exponential solution power of 2.14 which magnifies our view of His power to the greatest extent and enables us to see more of the physical evidence which He has provided to us as evidence of His glory and power, or we may hold back with the linear solution factor of 2.3 million which justifies an objection to the number which is too big for the meaning of the words “is like”. That’s an easy choice.
Grace and peace to all of you in the search for truth.
From your brother in Christ, Ralph Griffin, June 30, 2020
Technical notes: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
At this point in this message, the theological examination of the subject is finished. Following are technical notes about how to calculate the exponent (shown above with a value of 2.1437) with more accuracy and flexibility including the ability to see how little it is affected by making changes to the estimated age of the big bang or the number of years that are like a day of the Lord. Understanding these technical notes is not necessary for understanding the theology.
To define variable names and set values of the numbers that were shown in the previous figure, let DLC = 6 = Days of the Lord's Creation, and let NDY = 365 = Number of Days per Year, and let FFS_YS = 1000 = Fast Forward Setting Years according to Scripture, and let YBB = 13.8 billion = Years since the Big Bang.
To define variable names and calculate values of the numbers that were shown in the previous figure, let FFS_DS = FFS_YS × NDY = 365000 = Fast Forward Setting Days according to Scripture, and let FFS_S2 = FFS_DS × FFS_DS = 133 billion = Fast Forward Setting if the Lord Speaks Twice, and let FFS_BB = YBB × NDY ÷ DLC = 839.5 billion = Fast Forward Setting if the Big Bang was within DLC, and let Exp_BB = LOG(FFS_BB) ÷ LOG(FFS_DS) = 2.1437 = Exponent value of FFS_DS that sets FFS_DS Exp_BB = FFS_BB.
Those equations enable changing the values of input variables to see the resulting effect upon the value of Exp_BB which is shown with a value of 2.1437 in the previous figure. For example changing FFS_YS to 70 causes the changes that were described earlier regarding the effect of changing 1000 years to 70 years.
Those equations also enable testing how much Exp_BB would increase, if the scientific community would increase their estimate of the age of the big bang (currently at 13.6 billion years). That test would show that each time YBB is increased by a factor of 10, it would cause Exp_BB to increase by 8.39%. So there is no need for concern about a substantial increase to the value of Exp_BB, even if the scientific community would make a big change to their estimate of the age of the big bang.
Note that FFS_BB and FFS_DS have no units because they are the product of year × day/year ÷ day, which makes the units cancel out. They are also the ratio of days of earth per day of the Lord, which makes the units cancel out, which makes them suitable for use in the LOG and non-integer power calculations that are performed here. Some of the calculations include ÷ 1 day of the Lord because the units are not ignored, even where the number has no effect.
Note that Microsoft Excel calculates numbers with an accuracy of 15 digits, but when calculating values through LOG and power calculations like those which are described here, it may lose track of the last digit. In that case, when testing the result of a calculation by testing for equality, the result may return FALSE, even though the numbers are equal within the range of capability for Excel to perform the calculations.
In that case, when testing for equality, it is necessary to accept 14 digits of equality as equal. In Microsoft Excel, if A1=B1 within at least 14 digits, then this formula =ABS(A1/B1-1)< 10^-14 returns TRUE. Note that if B1=0, or if A1 or B1 is not a number, then the previous formula will return a #DIV/0! or #VALUE! error, but that sort of error can be avoided by using this formula =IF(ISNUMBER(A1/B1),ABS(A1/B1-1)< 10^-14,A1=B1)