The Foundation of the World.
literally; the conception of this habitable aeon or age; Circa 4485 BC.
Because the Bible, and especially the Book of Genesis, provides a detailed generational time-line from Adam onwards, and bearing in mind that God is not the author of confusion, then by rights, there should be no real disagreement between Christians as to whether the earth is likely to be relatively young, or extremely old.
But there is of course, and the ongoing debate gets quite heated at times. I would suggest that much of the problem has been caused by our modern-day tendency to use the words “earth” and “world” interchangeably, whereas in Scripture each word has an entirely different meaning.
Genesis 1:1 makes it absolutely clear that the earth was created “in the beginning,” and if the beginning refers to the 1st of the six days, then yes, the Young Earth Creationist would be correct, for according to the Bible time-line , the earth would be only around 6,500 years old.
However, the creation of the earth, and the foundation of the world, were two entirely different events, for each term has an entirely different meaning. Genesis 1:1 declares the former, whilst from verse 3 onward, the six days of Genesis record the latter.
There’s a pattern to the 6 days that’s easy to overlook, but which becomes very apparent when working backward from the close of the 6th day. Each individual day begins with the words; “And God said,” and with that principle in mind it can be seen that the first day actually begins with verse 3, and not the 1st verse as many assume.
Genesis 1:31 ……….. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 1:24. And God said… ( start of day 6).
Genesis 1:23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Genesis 1:20. And God said… ( start of day 5)
Genesis 1:19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
V 14 And God said…( start of day 4)
1: 13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
1:9. And God said.. (start of day 3)
1:8. And the evening and the morning were the .second day.
1:6. And God said.. (start of day 2)
1:5. And the evening and the morning were the .first day.
1:3. And God said Let there be light… (start of day 1)
The grand opening statement of Verse 1 records the initial perfect and absolute creation.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
What follows is an undisclosed period of time known as the Genesis gap. Although no detail is actually recorded in the Book of Genesis, other parts of scripture provide a glimpse into the ancient past. Due at the very least to the rebellion of Lucifer, the heavens and the earth of old became afflicted by death, and the ancient cosmos finally perished, as recorded in 2 Peter 3:5-6.
Genesis 1:2. describes the condition of the earth and the solar system after the destruction of the ancient world, but before God said let there be light.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep……..And God said, Let there be light: and there was light….And the evening and the morning were the first day.
After His Kind.
According to the Genesis record, during the six days of restoration only two things were actually created; great whales, and man made in the likeness and image of God. Every other species of life, God commanded to come forth after, or according to its own kind. In other words there had already been a ”kind” or ”type” in the previous world.
However, because there were various ”types” of both fauna and beast which were never intended for this age, or this world, God did not reinstate them. The great flying reptiles and dinosaur species for example, would remain buried away in the fossil-record.
Genesis 1:11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit AFTER HIS KIND, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Genesis 1:24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature AFTER HIS KIND, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth AFTER HIS KIND: and it was so.
Whatever it may have been, the archaic Neanderthal was never a former ancestor of Adam, and no genetic link exists between the world ”that then was”,(2 Peter 3:6) and the world which God ”so loved,” this present one.(John 3:16.)
God did not command the Neanderthal to come . forth after its kind, and so the ancient biped would also remain a relic of a bygone world. This . world alone would be founded and furnished for the benefit of man made in God’s image.
Genesis 1:27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
But . whilst four thousand years plus would pass before he finally came in the flesh, God had ordained a Saviour for man, before he’d even created him.
1 Peter 1:20. Who[Jesus] verily was foreordained before ”the foundation of the world,” but was manifest in these last times for you.
In NT terminology, the 6 day restoration of the heavens and earth is known as “the foundation of the world,” or literally the conception of this present habitable age.
The Age of the World.
By using the time-line of the life-spans and the genealogies recorded in the Old Testament, and because secular history dates the Siege of Jerusalem at 587 BC, then the creation of Adam, and the foundation of the world, can be traced back to somewhere between 5000-7500 years ago.
Both secular history and the three major monotheistic faiths alike, draw pretty much the same conclusion, although perhaps inadvertently.
The Sumerian Cuneiform script, which is the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, would seem to confirm a span of recorded human history of around 5000 years. This would correspond more or less, with the Jewish Calendar which is calculated from the time of Adam, and currently stands at year 5775.
Due in the main to confusing the earth with the world, many Orthodox Jews and Christians alike, maintain the six days of Genesis represent six extended periods of time rather than six literal 24-hour days. Whilst this would certainly allow for the Universe to be far older than 5775 years, Hebrew scholars maintain that the precise wording and grammar of Genesis dictates the six days were indeed a literal six days.
Muslim apologists often claim that Genesis is literally inaccurate because the earth is much older than the 6-10,000 year claim made by some Christians. They insist that the Islamic scripture and Muhammad’s sunna are completely scientifically correct, being in perfect conformity with modern scientific claims and discoveries.
Yet it would seem the same misunderstanding over the world and the earth, which is so common amongst Christians, also exists in the Muslim community.
In line with the Bible, the Quran states that “Allah created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days.” (7:54.)
However, according to Islamic scholar Muhammad b. Sahl, ”Five thousand six hundred years of this world have elapsed.” (The History of al-Tabari, Volume 1.)
Whilst men who believe in creation, argue the toss over the age of the earth, many miss the point completely. For most are in agreement as to the duration of the age, which in Biblical terms is normally translated as the world.