Current estimates place the age of the earth at 4 and a half billion years. However, many claim that God created it some 6000 years ago. That’s quite the difference. Could the planet really be only 6000 years old? Does the Bible even support that claim? Is the Earth 6000 years old? For many, the first few verses of Genesis provide a concrete answer. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void;” The next verse contains the epic command “Let there be light,” beginning a week long creation set approximately 6000 years ago. Is this cause to discard the mounting accumulation of evidence pointing to an older earth? Does this mean that Adam and Eve had to be wary of Tyrannosaurus Rex and other dinosaurs after being kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Unfortunately, questions like this cause many to throw away the Bible entirely. So what do many miss when reading this passage? The prophet Isaiah can help shed some light on God’s creation. “Who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain.” The Hebrew word translated here as vain is tohu.
This is the same word translated in Genesis 1:2 as “without form.” So the Bible tells us that the world was tohu, but that God did not create it that way. “The earth was without form and void.” The English word was is translated from the Hebrew word hayah. In 133 other instances in the Old Testament, this word hayah is translated as became or become. Indicating that the earth became without form and void as the result of a dramatic change.
Other biblical passages describe events which could only have occurred between these two verses. How much time passed between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? We don’t know, but God does not create things in a state of chaos and confusion as the terms without form and void convey. God’s creation was done in beauty and in order. The planet earth is not just 6000 years old, and the Bible does not claim it to be. The account of the restoration of the planet and creation of the first human beings, Adam and Eve, in Genesis is beautiful, it is inspiring, and it is factual. However, it is also extremely misunderstood. Perhaps, there are other cases where the Bible doesn’t say what many people seem to think it says. For Tomorrow’s World Viewpoint, I’m Michael Heykoop.
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