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Here's a hot topic. Just say creationism and you will put every scientist on the defensive. Just say evolution and you will put most Christians on the defensive. There is no need to get defensive. The Bible says that God created the universe. The Bible does not say how God created the universe.
# Question Answer
1 Does the Bible say that the earth is 6000 years old? No.
2 Does the Bible make a statement for a "young earth?" No. Not a single statement in the Bible implies that the earth is young. The earth is as old as the scientists have measured. It is 4.5 billion years old. Radioactive decay and a little algebra is very convincing.
3 Does the Bible say that the universe is young? No. The Bible makes no statement about the age of the universe. The age of the universe is as old as scientists have measured it. It is about 14 billion years old +/- 4 billion years old. Those error bars are big. Every few years, astronomers come up with a new numbers; nonetheless, these numbers remain in terms of several billions of years.
4 So what does the Bible say about how the universe was created? The Bible says that God created the universe. The Bible does not say how he did it. God could have used evolution as part of his design plan. If you consider the process of creation as baking in an oven, the Bible only shows us the universe after God has cooked it. We see only the finished product. We never see the goods while they are cooking. God did not put a window on the oven door.
5 So where did that myth that the earth is 6000 years old get started? An Irishman by the name of James Ussher, an Archbishop of the Anglican church during the early 17th century, started the rumor. His miscalculations placed the birth of the universe at 4004 BC. His chronology was included into the marginal footnotes of the Authorized Version of the Bible of that century, and was picked up in the Douay Bible in the 20th century. The miscalculation is still propagating.
6 What parts of the Bible did Ussher use to miscalculate the age of the universe? Ussher used 1 Ki 6:1, Ex 12:40, the genealogical "begats" in Genesis, and the assumption that each day of creation is 24 hours.
7 What's wrong with Ussher's calculation? Even as early as the 19th century, the Catholic church knew his calculations were grossly in error. The error is obvious, but it is only obvious when you know that ancient Middle Eastern cultures used genealogies as literary devices, not as exact accountings of generations. The average modern reader does not expect this.
8 Why can't I use a Bible genealogy to place a date of an ancestor? Bible genealogies, like those of other ancient Middle Eastern cultures, are telescoped. The story tellers purposely leave out relatively unimportant generations. Therefore, you cannot calculate any time span because of the missing generations.

Telescoping is an ancient Middle Eastern literary device used to emphasize the most important individuals in a family tree. Consider the Bible declaration: "Jesus, son of David" in Mt. 21:9. It looks like David is Jesus's father, but we all know that David lived 900 years prior to the birth of Jesus. Mt. 1's genealogy of Jesus is more extensive. It lists 28 generations between David and Jesus.

Every time you see "son of", especially in a genealogy, replace it with the word "descendant". Every time you see "father of", especially in a genealogy, replace it with "ancestor of". All you can say about verses like Ge 11:10: "when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad" is that when Shem was 100 years old, he became the ancestor of Arphaxad. In other words, when Shem was 100, he begat some ancestor of Arphaxad.

The writers leave out unimportant generations for a reason. They simply don't want to bore their readers. For additional literary effect, they also manipulate the numbers of generations so that they come out to be multiples of 4, 7 or 10. 4, 7 and 10 are literary devices which mean fullness or perfection. The telescoped genealogies are not an error. They are just a literary device. Now note the number of generations in Luke 3 (21 generations 7 x 3); in Matthew (3 sets of 14 = 7 x 2 generations), in Ge 5 and 10 (10 generations each), and in Ruth (10 generations).
9 Isn't a day of creation in Genesis a 24 hour period? No. The Bible says that the 7th day is still occurring. Starting in Hebrews 4:4 we learn that God's 7th day rest has lasted from the creation of the world to the present day. The 7th day is countless millennia. By context and by logic, one must infer the same for the other 6 days.
10 Why are so many people so adamant about a day of creation being 24 hours? Because they have never read Ge 1-2 in context. Moses wrote a poem, not a dissertation in cosmology.

Even though a poem, Ge 1-2 is still non-fiction. It is just that to understand the chapters as Moses wrote them, one has to note the literary devices that Moses employed. The main literary device common to Hebrew poetry is the thought rhyme. Hebrew poets do not rhyme sounds. They rhyme thoughts. In the case of Ge 1-2 Moses is rhyming "days". Day 1 rhymes with day 4. Day 2 rhymes with day 5. Day 3 rhymes with day 6:

1 "Let there be light!" 4 "Lights in the sky."
2 Sky and water 5 Birds and fish
3 Dry ground 6 Land animals

What God forms on day N, God fills on day N + 3. The days are not in chronological order either. Chronological order is not a requisite of Hebrew poetry. And in the Hebrew language, only days 1 and 6 have order. Genesis literally reads "the first day", "a day 2", "a day 3", . . . "the sixth day". If one infers any chronology from the poem, it will be according to the unravelled rhyme:

1 Light or Energy or Matter ( E = mc2)
4 Stars and Planets
2 Sky and Water
5 Creatures that dwell in the Sky and the Water
3 Dry Ground
6 Land Animals . . . and last of all, Man.

Another literary device used in the poem, is that days 1 through 6 have an "Evening and a morning", but that the 7th day does not. Because the seventh day does not, Hebrew rabbis have always believed that the 7th day is still occurring, hence Hebrews 4:4. The length of each of the other days can be equally as long, millions if not billions of years. The Bible never says. The 7th day is still occurring because God is still resting from creating. God is not creating at the present time; God is doing other things.
11 Doesn't evolution detract and insult the power of God? No. Quite the contrary. It is much more difficult to create a system that grows more complex over time than it is to create a system that is static and decays. What is easier to do, build an abacus or build an abacus that will turn itself into a microprocessor?
12 Does the Theory of Evolution state that every natural thing we see around us originated in random processes? Yes. But the problem with the theory is that it has never been observed. Never once has anyone seen an organism evolve into a higher order organism, let alone an organism from random processes. Neither in nature nor in the lab. Since the most fundamental tenement of this theory has never been observed, its hypothesis never once verified, in science speak itself, the Theory of Evolution is an extremely weak theory. It cannot be tested . It has not been observed. Take heed that scientists call it a theory. It has never made it to law status, as Newton's laws of motion.
13 Does evolution exist? Yes. What has been observed is horizontal evolution. One does observe changes within species. That has been observed in the lab. It has also been observed in the fossil record of sea urchins. However, upwards vertical evolution has not been observed: A species changing upwards to a more complex organism has never been seen and there remains no evidence for it.
14 How should I regard the several chapters of my biology text book that is devoted to evolution? With suspicion. The Bible does not discount the possibility; and science has not proved it. Therefore, anyone can contribute to the proliferation of material on evolution because it's anyone's guess.
15 In your opinion, how do think life got started? I like Billy Graham's answer to this question: "When I get to heaven, I am going to ask God to show me the video."
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16 What do you think about car bumpers with Darwin fish or the Jesus fish eating the Darwin fish? I actually think they are sad. The Bible does not have an issue with Darwin. Christians and non-Christians alike who sport the bumper sticker are exposing a terrible lack of knowledge.

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