Jay: Yes, the “creation controversy” in first millennium of the church was why God took so long to create, rather than doing it in an instant. I have no doubt that he could have done so, had he chosen. But that creates the whole problem of creation with apparent age, which makes even less sense. Regardless, God’s ultimate purpose in creation was not the creation of humans because he wanted a family. As Jonathan Edwards, America’s greatest philosopher, demonstrated, God’s ultimate end in creation was his own glory.
Frank: “Apparent age” like beauty “is in the eye of the beholder.”
Certainly creatures such as butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and even chimps by the beauty of their form attest to the glory of God but what in the physical world could give more glory to God than humans made in His image who would worship, love trust, believe in what He says and obey Him?
it fails to rebut the central point I made, namely, that the Genesis account of creation and literal 24 hour days is directly related to the work week and the Sabbath day as recorded in Exodus 20.
Jay: Sorry, I didn’t feel the need to rebut that portion, because it is obvious that the author of Genesis has used the 7-day week as a literary device to frame God’s creative work. Meredith Kline capably discusses it in this article. You should read it. I actually think you would like it.
Frank: As a former atheist and then a Christian who believed in an Old Earth I understand why to you it is “obvious” that the “apparent age” of the earth is billions of years and not thousands.
Generally speaking I think that most people – there were some exceptions to the rule – believed in an earth of only around 6,000 years old up until around the time of Lyell and Darwin.
Since that time evolutionary naturalism and with it the long ages, which is indispensible to Darwinism or the notion falls flat, has become part of the zeitgeist and not surprising when educationalists in schools, colleges etc teach one side only of the argument in the manner of one hand clapping and natural history programmes presented by, say, the very affable David Attenborough are constantly on our TV screens and even movies have the subtext of evolution and long ages.
Thanks for the link to a most interesting article by Meredith Kline and I confess that I hadn’t heard of him until today. Early in his article: ‘Because it had not Rained’ he reveals his hand and in the fourth paragraph makes it crystal clear that he is a believer in billions of years which is based on the concept of uniformitarianism. However, as a Christian who believes in a real historical Adam to justify his belief in long ages he attempts to reconcile his position by arguing against six literal creation days of 24 hours in Genesis 1, which to him is a “framework,” based on Genesis 2:5ff.
But Kline makes a huge mistake which completely undercuts his own argument right from the start:
“Kline called the ordinary providence argument "the most decisive argument against the traditional interpretation."9 According to Kline, Genesis 2:5–6 describes the earth on the third “day” of creation. He believed that the reason there were not any plants of the field or herbs of the field was because God had not caused it to rain yet. He saw this as evidence that God was not creating via miraculous means but through the same natural processes we observe today. He wrote:
"Embedded in Gen. 2:5 (ff). is the principle that the modus operandi of the divine providence was the same during the creation period as that of ordinary providence at the present time. It is not to be demonstrated that those who adopt the traditional approaches cannot successfully integrate this revelation with Genesis 1 as they interpret it. In contradiction to Gen. 2:5, the twenty-four-hour day theory must presuppose that God employed other than the ordinary secondary means in executing his works of providence. To take just one example, it was the work of the ‘third day’ that the waters should be gathered together into seas and that the dry land should appear and be covered with vegetation (Gen. 1:9-13). All this according to the theory in question transpired within twenty-four hours. But continents just emerged from under the sea do not become thirsty land as fast as that by the ordinary process of evaporation. And yet according to the principle revealed in Gen. 2:5 the process of evaporation at that time was the ordinary one.10
Once again, there are numerous problems with Kline’s argument. First, Genesis 2:5–6 does NOT refer to the third day, but to the SIXTH day just PRIOR to the creation of man. These verses use two specific Hebrew terms to refer to the “plant of the field” (siah hassadeh) and “herb of the field” (eseb hassadeh). These Hebrew terms are different than the ones used on the third day when God made the “grass,” the “herb that yields seed,” and the “tree that yields fruit” (Genesis 1:11-12). Ironically, Futato, who also promoted this view, describes the “plant of the field” as the wild shrubs of the steppe, which contain thorns and thistles, and the “herb of the field” as cultivated grain.11 It should be fairly obvious why the thorny plants and cultivated grains did not exist yet. Man had not been created yet to till the ground and he had not sinned yet bringing about the Curse on the earth of which thorny plants were one of the results (Genesis 3:18)." [my added emphasis]
For a fully thorough rigorous examination of Kline’s argument see:
A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of Creation (2 of 2 …