Dr. C. Van Dam: What did the days of the “creation week” consist of?

diagdIt’s common to hear Christians argue that God’s creative work should not be thought of in terms of six normal days.  Instead, we’re told that we should open to the possibility that these days were much longer periods of time, perhaps even billions of years.  These arguments have been around for a while.  In today’s featured article (which first appeared in 1989), Dr. C. Van Dam addresses these arguments and demonstrates how Scripture can and must be taken at face value on this matter.  You can find the article here.

Readers interested in a more detailed treatment of this topic should check out Rev. Paulin Bédard’s book In Six Days God Created.  The book can be purchased at this link and a review of it can be found here.  Highly recommended!

Created in the Beginning


By Paulin Bédard

Was Adam created at the beginning of the world or at the end? This question may seem awkward, since the church has always considered Adam as the father of the human race. But in a context where secular theories on the origin of the world are being pushed into the church, this question must seriously be raised and answered by the clear teaching of Scripture.

Created in the beginning or at the end?

Both progressive creation and theistic evolution teach that the origin of man is much older than what the church has traditionally believed. According to these modern doctrines, man appeared on earth a very long time ago. So if man is so old, why ask such an awkward question about man’s possible appearance near the end of the world?

Both progressive creation and theistic evolution are “old earth” views, which means they believe that the earth is extremely old and that the world has existed for billions of years. On this gigantic scale, man either slowly evolved (according to theistic evolution) or was instantaneously created (according to progressive creation) after an extremely long history of the earth. Thus, man would have appeared on earth a very long time after the beginning of the world — not in the beginning.

As for the traditional literal interpretation of the days of creation, it maintains that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of the history of the world, approximately 4000 years before Christ. On this scale, the creation of man corresponds to the beginning of the world, after only 0.0004 % of the 4000 year period.

Progressive creation, on the contrary, claims that God created the world and the living creatures by successive stages spaced out over billions of years. The days of creation are said to be very long periods of time. According to this view, the universe is 13.8 billion years old, the earth 4.5 billion years old, and man was created approximately 50,000 years ago.

To help us understand the meaning of these gigantic numbers, let us imagine that we compact into one single year the whole history of the earth until the first coming of Christ. If we reduce the alleged 4.5 billion years into one year, the earth began to be formed on January 1st, and the end of the earthly ministry of our Saviour corresponds to December 31st at midnight. On this reduced scale, man would have appeared on December 31st at 11:54 PM, and the extra-biblical recorded history (less than 3000 years before Christ) would cover only the last 20 seconds of the year. In other words, Adam was supposedly created after 99.999 % of the 4.5 billion years of the earth.

As for the theory of evolution (both atheistic and theistic), it alleges that God created the living creatures by means of a very slow biological evolution from the first cell to man. According to this view, the first hominids (or pre-humans not yet in the image of God) appeared about 5 million years ago. On the scale reduced to one year, it would correspond to around 2:00PM on December 31st, after 99.9 % of the 4.5 billion years. It even took another 4 million years or more before they became real men. We are told, for example, that archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago, or between 40 to 25 minutes before midnight on the last day of the year, according to the compacted model.

This means that, for both progressive creation and theistic evolution, man was created close to the end of the history of the earth — not in the beginning.

In the beginning, according to Christ and the apostles

What did Christ and his apostles teach about this subject? They taught, on the contrary, that man was created in the beginning and that the human beings have existed ever since the beginning of the world.

read the rest of this article here: Created in the Beginning