Did time begin on Day Four when God created the sun, moon, and stars? After all, the Bible doesn’t give an exact date for creation. Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., addresses this misconception.
I have been a Christian for over forty years. I have yet to find anywhere in the Bible that mentions the date of Creation even after studying the subject for more than five years from every angle. Since time did not begin until after Day Four, how can you connect a date of 4004 BC as the date of Creation?
Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis with your question.
I have been a Christian for over forty years.
Congratulations on trusting in Christ for so long. It is indeed a privilege to serve the Creator.
I have yet to find anywhere in the Bible that mentions the date of Creation even after studying the subject for more than five years from every angle.
There is not one specific verse that states, "The creation of the world occurred in _____." Instead, the date of Creation can be derived by using the Creation account in Genesis 1, the genealogies found in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, and so on.
The date of Creation can be derived by using the Creation account in Genesis 1, the genealogies found in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11, and so on.
Genesis 1 reveals there were five days prior to Adam's creation (he was created on the sixth day). Genesis 5 states that Adam lived 130 years prior to the birth of Seth (Genesis 1:3). Seth lived 105 years before the birth of Enosh (Genesis 5:6)—and so on down to the birth of Noah, which was approximately 1,056 years after creation. When we compare Genesis 11 to Genesis 5:32, we learn that Shem was born when Noah was 502 (Genesis 11:10). Arphaxad was born when Shem was 100 (Genesis 11:10)—and so on down to Abram (Abraham), who was born approximately 2,000 years after Creation.1
Scholars, both liberal and conservative, generally agree that Abraham was born about 2,000 years before Christ. We are now in the year 2010, so this is another 2,000 years. When we add the 2,000 from Adam to Abraham, the 2,000 from Abraham to Christ, and the 2,000 from Christ to the present day, we end up with about 6,000 years since Creation. See "The World: Born in 4004 BC?" for more details.
Many have tried to argue that billions of years could be inserted somewhere before the creation of Adam, through ideas like the Day-Age Theory and Gap Theory. However, they neglect the fact that Jesus said Adam was created "at the beginning" (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:6).
Since time did not begin until after Day Four, how can you connect a date of 4004 BC as the date of Creation?
Actually, time did not begin on Day Four. Let's take a look at what Genesis says about that day.
14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14–19, NKJV)
Although the argument is increasingly common, nowhere in the text does it say that time began on the fourth day. Instead, God made the sun, moon, and stars, which can be used to measure time. Time actually began "in the beginning" (Genesis 1:1), or else it would not have been "the beginning," which is a time reference. In fact, "day" is a time reference, and there are three of those prior to day four.
Some respond by pointing out that if the sun, moon, and stars weren't around for the first three days, then there was no way to determine time, so the first three "days" may have been periods of indeterminate length. The problem with this is that God was the one who measured the length of the first three days and He revealed that the first three days were a period of "evening" and "morning," just like the last three days.
Also, God confirmed in Exodus 20:11 that these six days, plus God's day of rest, comprised one week and formed the basis for our workweek. This is repeated in Exodus 31:17–18, with the additional comment that these words were written by God Himself.
Finally, your argument proves too much if one is hoping to make allowance for billions of years. If time did not start until the fourth day, then the earth and universe would actually be three days younger than we claim.