Our son-in-law does a cookout (barbeque or braai) on special occasions. He would braai boerewors with chops or steak. In tinfoil he would add corn on the cob or potatoes. He will wash the potatoes, wrap them in tinfoil and bake them. Once cooked, he would take them off the grid and place them into a dish. This happened as we will be sitting down to eat. With a lifter we take the potato out of the dish, struggle to unwrap it because of the heat, slice the potato open, add butter and aromat, slice a piece and shove it into the mouth. It’s hot … and you roll it around in your mouth sucking in air and blowing it out to cool it off. It tastes delicious! I call it a “hot potato”.
To maintain youth group meetings on Friday nights during the winter we used to runs series called “Hot Potatoes”. Topics relevant to teens were taught and discussed such as integrity, dating, sex, abortion, homosexuality, schooling, work, self-love as opposed to self-esteem, etc. These were “hot potatoes” for cold winter nights. A “hot potato” in Genesis chapter one is “the age of the earth” and another is “how long each day in Genesis chapter one” was. These are important matters because not understanding them correctly impacts on how you grasp and interpret all of Scripture.
1) The Young Earth Worldview. Those who believe in the earth being “young”, look at 6000 years old. There are some in this group who feel that there might be gaps in the genealogies of chapter five to eleven and suggest the earth’s age to be around 10,000 to 12,000 years. The Young Earth Worldview of 6,000 years comes from what the Bible teaches us. The Bible does not say 6,000 … so how do they arrive at this age? When my wife and I would go shopping some six years ago, cashiers would be reluctant to give us “pensioner’s discounts” because we looked much younger that we were. To prove our age we would need to show our “Identification Cards”. The standard response was … “wow”! We proved our age by showing our Identification Cards. Our date of birth is clearly printed on the card. How do we know the age of the earth? We go to the manuscript called the Bible. Remember Adam was created on the sixth day and creation started five days before. With the ages provided in God’s Word, we find some 2000 years from Adam to Abraham, some 2000 years from Abraham to 1 AD. We live in 2023 AD, so roughly the earth’s age is 6023 years. (For the best and most reliable information, the “Masoretic Text” was used for this calculation.)
2) The Old Earth Worldview. Those who follow this belief accept molecules-to-man Biological Evolution and date the earth around 14 billion years old. They would be called Theistic Evolutionists. Others reject Darwinism Evolution but accept the evolutionary timescale for stellar and geological evolution and agree with the evolving order of events in history.
3) Radiometric Dating Method. This led to the billions of years’ belief. Scientists can’t agree with this dating method as many errors have crept in and the measurements are ever changing. Radiometric dating includes several other methods such as carbon dating (or radiocarbon dating and carbon-14 dating). I found the following explanations …
(i) All radiometric dating uses the number of atoms of a known radioactive isotope and the number of daughter atoms produced when the radioactive isotopes decay.
(ii) It is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon.
(iii) Radioactive dating definition: Radioactive dating is a method that utilizes radioactive elements to calculate the age in years of geologic materials, such as rocks and minerals. The radiometric dating definition is the same as radioactive dating.
4) How old is the earth? Personally, being a Bible believer, I follow the “Young Earth Worldview” for the age of the earth which is around 6023 years. Here’s the reality … if the earth was billions of years old, it undermines the Gospel Message because at its foundation it puts death, disease, thorns and suffering before the fall in Genesis chapter 3. To follow billions of years puts the starting point of the Gospel outside (before) of the scope of Genesis chapter one. This idea does not tie up with all the Gospel’s Ingredients found in a systematic study of the whole Bible.
5) The length of a day in Genesis chapter one. It is true to say that the word “day” does not appear in the original text. It says “period of time”. Certainly, a period of time could be a second or a billion years. That is, creation could have taken 6 second or anything up to 6 billion years.
(1) There are those who argue days one to six are different to day seven because day 7 does not have the shape of the first six days. Take as an example:
Ge 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
On the sixth day (and the other five) we are told … And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Yet on the seventh day it does not say there was morning or evening. So they say, this seventh day is different to the other days. We need to however remember that the first six days were creating days or working days whilst the seventh day was a resting day. Therefore, not being a working day, morning and evening did not need to be mentioned.
(2) I will argue that these seven days (or periods of time) were 24 hour periods. Look at two passages from the book of Exodus … remembering this is the Word of God and He is using the same human author (Moses) to pen both Genesis and Exodus.
Ex 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Here we find the six day work week and one day for worship and rest linked to the six days of creation and the one day for rest. All the language here implies 24 hour days.
Ex 31:14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. 15 For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. 16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.
As a reinforcement to the Hebrew people, Moses reiterates what God said when giving the Ten Commandments. Once again the six day work week followed by a rest and worship day is compared to the six days of creation followed by a day of rest. All the language clearly shows a 24 hour period day. God created a beautiful place for man to live, grow numerically and rule through working for six days and resting on the seventh day.
Thank You Father that you expect us to work for six days, caring for our planet, our country, places of employment and homes, and then resting on the seventh day by assembling for worship and giving You thanks and glory and spending quality time with our family and Christian family. Thank You for Your kindness to us. Amen.