First Things
A Common Sense Approach to Origins

Common Sense Considerations

Let’s apply some common sense to the subject of the age of the universe. Consider the following points:

  1. If He Could Have, He Would Have: If God was capable of creating our world and our universe in six days, that would have undoubtedly been the most reasonable way to do it. Dragging the creation process out over billions of years unnecessarily would not make sense any more than taking a thousand years to build a skyscraper would make sense today when, with mechanization, a skyscraper can be built in two or three years.
  2. If God Took Billions of Years to Create the Universe, Why Not Say So? If God created the universe as the Bible indicates, we would be in awe if he took six days or if he took billions of years. There is no reason to claim he did it in six days if he took billions of years to complete the creation.

The “Limited Vocabulary” Argument: I have read the argument that there was no word for billions when the book of Genesis was written, so Moses had to use the term “day” even though he meant to convey an indefinite period of time. In this regard, the following points need to be considered:

  1. Even if a limited vocabulary prevented Moses from clearly stating how old the universe is, he did not have to add the words, “the evening and the morning.” While some argue that the Hebrew words for “evening” and for “morning” were sometimes used to indicate indeterminate periods of time, I am confident that none of the writings referred to combines the word “day” with the words “the evening and the morning” the way they are in the Genesis account of creation, i.e., “. . . the evening and the morning were the first day . . . the evening and the morning were the second day . . . the evening and the morning were the third day. . .” and so on. In fact, we use all of these words in the English at times to mean indefinite periods of time, but we never do it the way Moses did in the Genesis account of creation. We say things like, “That was the day of the Romans” or “That was the dawn of the Roman Empire” or “That was the twilight of the British Empire.”
  1. The context usually makes the meaning clear. For instance, if the text of the fifth day of the Genesis account of creation read, “In the day of the sea creatures and birds, God said, ‘We now turn to the dawn of the sea creatures and birds. Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ And God began to develop sea creatures beginning with the smallest and, over time, he developed larger and larger sea creatures that were more and more complex. In a similar way, God was developing birds from the simplest to the most complex. Finally God was satisfied that the creation of sea creatures and birds was complete and he said, ‘The evening of the time for creation of sea creatures and birds is upon us and day of the creation of sea creatures and birds is drawing to a close . . .” the argument that Moses meant to convey indeterminate time periods lasting billions of years would be appropriate. That is not the way he wrote. There is no reason to believe that is what he meant.
  2. We need to remember that God confused the languages of the people at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). That involved inventing entire new vocabularies for the various languages created at that time. A God who could do that could certainly insure any word Moses needed to accurately describe the creation would have been available to him. At a minimum, Moses could have said, “Over a long, long period of time, God created the heavens and the earth.”
  3. Another point to consider is that most of what we know about the vocabulary of the Hebrew language at the time of Moses is from the scripture itself. There are no grammar books from that period available. While I am not aware of any other documents written in Hebrew that have survived from that period, I am confident that the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) is the source of most of the information we have from that period. If that is true, the argument that Moses did not have a word for billions is based on the fact that Moses didn’t use the Hebrew word for billions in his writings. It is a circular argument, “We know he didn’t have the word because he didn’t use the word which he would have if such a word existed because the universe must have taken substantially more than six days to create.”

Confirmation Scriptures: Finally, on two separate occasions recorded in the book of Exodus, God said through Moses that the Israelites were to keep the Sabbath because, “In six days I made the heavens and the earth.” (Exodus 20:11 and 31:17)

The Faith Component: No one can study the Bible without realizing that God demands faith from his people. Faith, by definition, means there must be an element of doubt. If everything scientists discovered indicated that our world and our universe are roughly six thousand years old, believing in Bible dating would be easy.

It may help to know that there are age issues with the natural causes view as well. Scientists estimate the big bang took place fourteen billion years ago. If that were true and the big bang started where the earth is today, if the universe expanded at the speed of light, it should be no more than fourteen billion light years in its radius today. A survey of the size of the earth on the Internet indicates it is thought to be almost forty-six billion light years in its radius (ninety-two billion light years in diameter).

For comparison, that is like saying a train went from point A to point B which is a distance of six hundred miles. Traveling at an average speed of sixty miles an hour, it completed the trip in three hours. You don’t have to be a math wizard to realize that it takes ten hours to go six hundred miles if you average sixty miles an hour. Six hundred miles at sixty miles an hour in three hours doesn’t work. It can’t be done.

It is also important to remember that the universe would have been developing into planets and stars. The concept of tiny particles of matter drifting together to form planets and stars over billions of years while being part of an expansion of the universe faster than the speed of light is ridiculous. It won’t work. It can’t be done.

Potential for Persecution: Is there a chance we could be ridiculed if we accept Bible dating? Absolutely! It is part of the cross we have to bear as Christians. Paul did. He said, “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” (I Corinthians 4:10).  He meant that those who deny Christ will always ridicule Christians. It goes with the territory!