Did God really create the universe in six 24-hour days?
If one takes the Bible at face value, Genesis 1:1-31 seems to suggest that God created everything in six literal days. There is no reason to think that a being as great as God could not accomplish such a feat within this timeframe. In fact, one of the early Christian writers, Augustine, argued that what makes anyone think God would need six days to accomplish creation? God, as depicted in the Bible, is capable of creating everything instantaneously!
Yet, many Christians act embarrassed when they talk about the biblical account of creation because they erroneously think that science and the Bible conflict with one another. What are we to do with the claims of some scientists that the earth is billions of years old, or that human beings evolved over millions of years from lower life forms? How do we argue with science?
However, genuine science and the Bible are completely compatible. Over and over, scientific claims that seemingly contradict the Bible are later shown to be wrong. Yet, modern science education continues to promote a belief about the origin of the universe and the life forms found in it that DO conflict with not only the Bible but other scientific discoveries as well. In short, some claims of modern science about the origin of the universe are in conflict with good science.
The late Carl Sagan, once a popular evolutionary physicist, claimed something quite astounding in his writings: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” (Cosmos, Random House, NY, 1980 p.4,30) In one scene from the film version of Cosmos, Sagan puts his arm around a tree and says (seriously into the camera), “This is my cousin.” When carefully analyzed, Sagan’s remark is actually a statement of religious belief masquerading as science. His faith-based statement is part of the secular philosophy called Naturalism: an unproven belief system which holds that everything that exists is nothing more than matter and energy, space and time. In Sagan’s worldview of Naturalism, there is no supernatural reality behind the material universe. Consequently, the only valid explanation for the origin of the universe is one that confirms the assumptions upon which Naturalism is based.
The Scriptures teach that God made the universe in six days, somewhere between 4500 and 10,000 B.C. With hard evidence supporting this “young earth model”, some creation scientists challenge the “billions of years” views held by Naturalists. Some Christians accept the basic concept of ”big bang theory,” (belief that everything came from a single cosmic explosion) feel compelled to make room for “billions of years” (Gap Theory, Day/Age, Progressive Creation, etc) in the Genesis account of Creation.
The real issue is : Should we interpret the current ever-changing evolutionary models of modern science in terms of the Bible, or should we interpret the Bible in terms of the ever-changing evolutionary model? Scientists from both sides of this debate are surveying the same physical evidence. Their assumptions influence how the physical evidence is interpreted. Creationists believe that “modern science” will one day “get the facts right” and demonstrate that the Biblical model for origins is scientifically accurate.