Last November, AiG–USA held a major conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s large downtown Convention Center. The ripple effect of this extremely well-attended outreach to the region continues to this day.
For example, the conference has been followed up by one of the sponsors of this event, the local newspaper The Pittsburgh Christian. Since the conference, this monthly paper has been reporting on the creation/evolution controversy with keen interest (including a regular column by the Creation Science Fellowship of Pittsburgh—another conference co-host).
The paper’s proclamation of a literal reading of Genesis, however, has not been totally embraced by the Christian community in Pittsburgh. For example, the paper received the following letter, which it published in its March edition—along with an excellent, well-thought-out reply to the letter by the paper’s editor ....
I was disappointed to see that a series of articles are to be printed supporting young-earth creationism. Young-earthism is not the literal interpretation of Genesis, nor is it biblical or scientific. It is based on a number of false assumptions and contradictory claims. It is one of the prime examples that skeptics hold up to show, “The Bible is fiction.”
The Hebrew in Genesis one does not say “24 hour days” in any manner. The Hebrew can be interpreted at least three ways, literally. One must look to context, which young-earthism does not. To believe young-earthism, you must except (sic) the Sun existed before life and that Adam and Eve and all the events in Genesis 2 happened in one day. In old-earth creationism there are no such contradictions.
I hope you will at least consider allowing an old-earth creationist detail their side. Old-earth creationism, contrary to some of the more extreme young-earth supporters, doesn’t compromise with evolution and, in fact, is integral to intelligent design theory.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We are glad you are reading this paper and we hope that you find articles that uplift you and strengthen your faith. Obviously, a complete response to your letter would take more time than we have in this column, but we encourage you to visit answersingenesis.org for a more in-depth study. In the meantime, we ask that you please read the upcoming series of articles on young-earth creation with an open mind, putting aside the fallible opinions of men, which are constantly changing.
In response to your letter:
The Hebrew word for “day” in Genesis 1 is “yom.” It is true that the word “yom” can have a range of meanings, such as: a period of time, a specific point in time, a year, the time of day when it is light out and it can also refer to 24 hour period of time.
However, in Genesis 1, the writer (the Holy Spirit, writing through Moses) didn’t allow for any other interpretation than 24-hour days because He used a number, and the phrase “evening and morning” for each of the six days of creation (“and there was evening and morning the first day,” etc.). All throughout the Bible, when “yom” is used with a number or the words “evening” or “morning,” it is referring to a 24-hour day.
I assume that when you refer to the “contradiction” that the “Sun existed before life,” you mean that plant life, according to Genesis 1 was created before the Sun. This would be a problem if the “days” were millions of years, I grant you, but it’s not a problem if the “days” were 24-hour periods of time because they only had to survive for 1 day. The Sun certainly existed before animal and human life, which were created on days 5 and 6.
All of the events of Genesis 2 could have easily happened in one day since Adam was only asked to name all of the livestock, beasts of the fields and birds. If we let scripture interpret scripture, these were the “kinds” referred to in Genesis 1:20-25. This would not need to have been all of the species that have emerged [not evolved—just like breeds of dog emerge from the same dog-kind gene pool today—AiG Ed.] since that time.
We are not concerned with compromising evolution. Our concern is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not accept the opinion that the “days” of Genesis 1 are millions of years because that requires a belief that there was death [of “nephesh” life—and cancer and other evidence of suffering as evident in the fossil record—AiG Ed.] before sin. Since Jesus came to pay the penalty of sin, which is death, the Gospel is attacked at its very foundation by evolution and Old-earth creationism.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all should be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22)
For more teaching on the word “day” in Genesis, read Unformed and Unfilled.