Old-Earth Creationism

About Old-Earth Creationism

Reasons To Believe scholars view the days of creation as long but finite time periods, and we refer to ourselves as old-earth creationists. We embrace the truthfulness and inerrancy of Scripture while also accepting the scientific evidence for the age of the universe, planet, and life. Varying interpretations of the biblical text exist within the old-earth perspective. Reasons To Believe accepts the biblical creation accounts throughout Scripture (not just in Genesis) as dependable, testable, and consistent depictions of reality. Any presumed conflict between science and Scripture arises from faulty interpretation and should be resolved by further research and testing.

Components of RTB’s biblically based, scientifically testable creation model include:

  • All matter, energy, space, and time had a beginning, as stated in Genesis 1:1 and confirmed by big bang cosmology. Thus, the cosmos had a Beginner.
  • As determined by scientific research, the universe is about 13.7 billion years old and Earth, 4.5 billion. These dates fit with the Genesis creation account. The original Hebrew text allows for literal interpretation of the six creation “days” as long, yet finite, eras.
  • Complex life emerged suddenly and as soon as the planet could support it. In a series of events known as “biology’s big bangs” (such as the Cambrian explosion), God alternately created life and allowed mass extinction events as part of a grand plan to introduce new and more advanced life-forms under appropriate environmental conditions. To date, mechanisms proposed in support of macroevolution and chemical evolution are inadequate to account for life’s emergence and history.
  • Earth’s geological features, fossils, and biodeposits formed over billions of years by a combination of gradual processes and catastrophic events.
  • Adam and Eve were historical people, created between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago and were created in the image of God. Humans alone, among all other life-forms, are endowed with God’s image and possess a spiritual nature. The great apes and bipedal primates were simply advanced animals with no direct genetic connection to the human family tree.
  • The flood of Noah’s day was “worldwide” in the sense that it destroyed all humans and the animals associated with them, but it was regional in extent because Earth’s population had not yet spread across the entire globe, perhaps not much farther than the Mesopotamian region.

RTB’s distinction is it that its scholars present a coherent, predictive creation model and invite others to test its viability. Models play an essential role in establishing the plausibility of a scientific explanation. As RTB president and founder Hugh Ross explains:

Using a model approach supplies researchers with enough detail to assist in further study. It offers explanations for how, when, where, why, and in what order phenomena take place. It anticipates or predicts discoveries that could either verify or falsify the model’s explanations. The best models also yield specific suggestions for how near-term research may help improve understanding of the systems or phenomena they attempt to explain.

Ross’s book More Than a Theory lays out the basics of RTB’s creation model, while other publications, such as The Cell’s Design by Fazale Rana, focus on particular parts of the model. Several free articles on RTB’s website provide an introductory overview of the model.


What Old-Earth Creationism Is Not

Old-earth creationism is not acquiescence to naturalistic or theistic evolution. Rather, it affirms God’s direct intervention in the creation of life and various life-forms, including the first humans (Adam and Eve). RTB scholars remain confident that an integration of emerging evidence from multiple research disciplines supports a creation perspective. “Evolution” defined simply as “change with respect to time” can be considered a fact, but in references to evolution as an explanatory model, the term “fact” does not apply.

Old-earth creationism repudiates that notion that Christ’s followers must either compartmentalize science and faith, or embrace one and discard the other. It also rejects that idea that plant and animal death prior to Adam and Eve’s sin somehow distorts or negates the doctrine of atonement. The Fall brought death to humanity, and physical death is an essential element in God’s plan of redemption.

As advanced by RTB, old-earth creationism differs from the Intelligent Design movement (ID or IDM) in that RTB openly identifies a specific Designer (the God of the Bible), rejects the young-earth view, and advances a creation model.

Additionally, old-earth creationism differs from the theistic evolution (TE), which generally proposes that God allowed natural process evolution to guide (indirectly) life’s emergence and development. Most TE proponents describe the Genesis creation account as a literary device or as myth rather than as history. While this stance may appear to offer middle ground for Christians who want to embrace the Gospel and the evolutionary paradigm, TE runs the risk of discounting an Old Testament story that the apostles and Jesus Himself treated as truth. Genesis and other creation passages indicate that God was directly involved in every major step of creation, as well as in the events of the New Testament, from Jesus’ miraculous conception to His redemptive work on the cross to His bodily resurrection and ascension.

Old-earth creationism provides a perspective that all truth is God’s truth, both in Scripture and in scientific discovery.

7 Responses to “Old-Earth Creationism”
  1. God placed a firmament in the middle of the water and the water above would be ice, this layer of ice would block the C14 from entering the firmament. And of course when it came down in the flood, the C14 began bathing the earth as it is today. C14 levels only increase in live things, and the less C14 a bone has the older age it is given. So what then… looking at it with all my mind………it’s so simple my friends… The bones of all that died in the flood have very little C14 because of the ocean of ice above blocking the radiation and not due to a large period of time … there is no reason to ever doubt his word http://www.firstfoundationministries.com firstfoundationministries@yahoo.com

  2. littlefeather says:

    I am an Old Earth theologian as well, glad to see it is making a come back.

  3. Donna Hunter says:

    I embrace your idea of an old earth, but why not consider that as God is the great I Am and the earth is old as He desired it to be. However what if humans are young and the creation story is as it is written? I do not believe that God would be so misleading in His word. If He said 7days then He meant 7 days. Why are we so reluctant to accept this fact. Jesus lay in the grave for three days does this also mean thousands of years? The earth can be old but hummanity young.

  4. Maureen says:

    Hello Rene,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. To help better explain RTB’s stance on the Flood and why we believe (based on biblical and scientific evidence) that it was local, rather than global, I’d recommend these articles by Dr. Hugh Ross: http://www.reasons.org/resources/publications/nrtb/2009_v01_n01#flood, http://www.reasons.org/resources/publications/nrtb/2009_v01_n02#flood, and http://www.reasons.org/resources/publications/nrtb/2009_v01_n03#7.


  5. Rene' says:

    If I may venture one reply to your question, Heather Spoohheim. Unlike RtoB, I do embrace what seems “crystal clear” in the biblical account, that the Great Flood was global, worldwide event. (A careful read of the Deluge account itself, and the description of the degenerated state of man on the recreated Earth (surface) only 1600-+ years old, that necessitated its waves of stormy wrath, support its universal magnitude.)

    RtoB seems to underestimate man in the early days, as far as his population expansion, and distribution over the planet. One has to consider sea levels — and thus land bridges from continental masses, one to the other. Climate: fair sailing (men were less capable of seafaring than centuries ago?), and not so hard migrating.

    Man, if anything, was more intelligent then, only centuries (another divergence with RtoB) from a perfect Creation — Adam and Eve must have been absolutely magnificent, senses as sharp as a precision machines, for example.

    Consider, a Catastrophic Event — an “Lost Atlantis” submergence of an entire civilization — occurs (one language). The end of the world of man. ONE family passes through from death to life, from darkness to light — through faith in God, and therefore, by His Almighty protection journey to a new beginning.

    Noah’s sons and daughters multiple, and replenish the earth, and radiate out to populate the continental masses (just as they must have done after Garden expulsion, and exploratory expansion (what’s over that hill, beyond that forest, over that sea, …). Knowledge fades into legend and myth — originated in historical fact: The Worldwide Flood.

    So the human family branches, East to West, all retaining a collective, but dimming memory of that titanic event as the journey, colonize and settle — with all its variations of the same basic theme — around the world. Stories of a time-faded catastrophe: The Epic of Gilgamesh being but one.

    There is a reversal in thinking by the skeptics, when they say, What about all the Flood Myths?
    Actually, all those myths, if you invert things — and prove things — provide circumstantial evidence of some ancient cataclysm. It also, I just thought, mirrors man’s intimate connection with one family (not some brutish class of anthropoids, but a faithful man through his sons families!).

    The biblical account is inspired (in sweeping context of the entire Bible, and what one can prove therefrom, this conclusion can be reached), and therefore accurate and true. All the others are myths woven within a frame of fact; a canopy of assorted legends rooted in ground of fact.

    The Gilgamesh Epic is an uninspired account, with its distortions, errors and legend — of an actual historical event, then centuries past.

    One long-winded reply.

  6. Sandra says:

    When we speak of a ‘Spiritual’ book, obviously we speak of the Spirit. Have you not given one thought to the fact that the Writer of the Bible and especially the Book of Genesis, is writing about the Human Conscious and the ‘NATUIRE’ of the Universe?
    Take a look at the first line in the first book of Genesis.
    In Hebrew it is written – B’RAShITH BaRA ALoHIM ATh HaShaMaIM VaATH HaAReTh

    Such are the Seven Words which constitute the Beginnings (A starting Point, which does not necessarily mean a Time. It can also mean a Place such as Top or Bottom, or At the Head or the Feet as in Ground Top-Down, Buttoms-Up) or Heads of One Law.

    The Hebrew Writing translated to English:-
    In the Beginning, created, God, the Essence of the Heavens, and the Essence, of the Earth.

    How do we as Humans begin to create? In the beginning, In Wisdom, In the Head.

    The Essence of the Heavens.. What is Essence? Essence is Consciousness. Awareness…Our Soul.

    What Heavens? The Heavens of the Human Organism is the HEART. The essence of the Heart is LOVE.

    The Essence of the Earth? What Earth? The Spiritual Earth of the Human Organism is his MIND…The MIND is essentially Our Thoughts (Mental Sphere), and Feelings (Emotional Sphere)

    There is only ONE Law through which we should create and that is LOVE.

    So God, (The LAW – TRUTH: Law originating from the word LORD), In Wisdom (The beginning) created, (ACTION – Cause and Effect (Karma), the essence of the heavens, the Heart – LOVE, Righteousness, Ethics, Virtues) and the essence of the earth, (The MIND – Thoughts and Emotions) The Mind, Thoughts and Emotions are two-fold: Selfish and Selfless:
    Selfish is the EGO and Selfless is LOVE.
    Through Selfishness, the Ego we create In Ignorance ( Unaware, Unconsciously)
    Through Selflessness, Unconditional LOVE we create in Wisdom, (Awareness, Consciousness)-(Fully aware of the LAW – The Cause and Effects of our Actions).

    All scriptures are written in Analogy, Allegory and Symbols, for The Nature of The Human Spirit and the Universe is Formless.

    Bearing all the above, reading the Entire Bible and any other scripture can be Crystal Clear and the messages contained in any scripture is EXACTLY the same.



  7. If one is to take Genesis as a ‘true account’ then how does one go about incorporating/explaining the Epic if Gilgamesh?

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