After the birth of my second son I decided that I needed to know more about the creation/evolution controversy. At that point I knew basically that Darwin’s evolution was not quite correct but that the earth could be old and some sort of evolution was true. The people I respected in the church promoted either the Day-Age Creation or Gap Creation.
Day-Age Creation allows for an old earth. It postulates that each of the days of creation represents a geological age.
Gap creation says that the earth is old but some great conflict caused the destruction of the old earth. When we get to the first of the seven days of Genesis we are looking at a new creation, a creation after the destruction of the original earth.
As I looked at the idea of each day representing an age some discrepancies quickly became obvious. Vegetation is created on the third day, Sun moon and stars are created on the fourth day. It seems unlikely that vegetation can exist for a geological age without the sun and moon. The explanation I was given about this was that the atmosphere was different and the sun and moon were made visible in the fourth age but definitely existed before this. Birds and whales are created on the fifth day, land animals are created on the sixth day. Birds and whales in evolutionary theory evolved from land animals, therefore they should have existed after rather than before land animals. It seemed that the Day Age Creation was inadequate an explanation.
The Gap Theory was a much simpler explanation. Evolution and geological time all happened in the first two verses of Genesis, a great conflict and cataclysm followed and destroyed the early earth with all of its life. God then restarted with an entirely new creation, but an old earth, in seven days. While this seemed simple enough it raised questions about the theology of the goodness of God’s creation, the relationship between sin and death, and Noah’s flood. This brought me to a new consideration, a complete recent creation in seven days without the geological ages and evolution of conventional theory.
The trouble I had at this point was that the people I knew and respected as leaders in my church accepted and promoted only the first two theories. Personal recommendation carries a lot of weight, so who did they depend on to support their views. As I examined the literature I discovered inconsistencies which directed my views.
I had decided that with all of the rhetoric and vituperative views being expounded on the subject that there was more than information being conveyed. I made the simple choice to see if what the various proponents of the various theories had to say about each other was true. Basically there were two competing theories, evolution with a great amount of geological time, and a recent sudden creation. The quotes that most stand out in my mind had to do with the finding of a fossil whale in diatomaceous earth, a controversy over radiometric dating and a quote made by a group called the Institute for Creation Research of Stephen Gould. I checked on the fossil whale and found that everything the young earth creationists had to say about it was true, i.e. all the quotes made from secular literature were accurate both as to content and context. I checked on the controversy over radiometric dating and found that everything that the young earth creationists had to say was again true. I checked on Stephen Gould’s essays and found again that the young earth creationists were accurate, and that Dr. Gould contradicted himself in refuting them in later essays.
I went further and checked on the claims of the old earth creationists. They had stated that Jewish legend had a gap in Genesis; I checked Ginsburg’s “Legends of the Jews” and found that the gap was only a few thousand years and that the conflict needed to destroy the earth only began after the creation of Adam. There was a further statement that St. Augustine believed the earth was older than a literal reading of the Bible allowed. I read Augustine and found that he accepted a literal interpretation of the Bible and his chronologies showed a young earth. Finally I noted that evolutionists disparaged the founder of the Institute of Creation Research as being just a civil engineer. I checked, he held a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering specialising in erosion and flood control, in other words he was an expert on what he spoke.
It seemed to me that the young earth creationists were the ones most careful with the truth, the ones most respectful of the information and of opposing viewpoints. They were also the ones most respectful of the Bible so I decided that they were the ones worthy of listening to and I decided to give the priority to investigating their claims.
Useful links regarding gap theory
- A closer look at the language of Genesis 1:1-2
- The gap theoryan idea with holes?
Creation Ministries International, home of Creation Magazine; scientific evidence supporting Genesis
A refutation of gap theory.
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