I've been obsessing. I didn't even wait for my copy of "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth" to show up in the mailbox. Having the internet handy can be a curse.
It’s about ‘Yom’…
One little word in Hebrew: It can mean day, as in - the day is hot. It can mean an unspecified period of time, as in – the time Solomon ruled was 40 years. It can also mean a single year, or all the years in the future. I read that the ancient Hebrew of the OT had only about 5700 different words. They had to get a lot of mileage out of each of them. As long as YEC’s (Young Earth Creationists) cling to YOM as a single, 24 hour day they don’t have to consider another thing, from their pov.
It’s also about the definition of idea of there being no death before sin. It seems that the early Christian Fathers assumed that meant no human death. (But then again, the Church Fathers fought about the ‘days of creation’ too…) The young earth crew claims that nothing that was created died before Original Sin. I found nothing in Genesis 1-3 that stated that no animals died before Original Sin, and certainly the bacteria that was in Adam’s and Eve’s guts helping them digest their food was multiplying and dying at the same rapid pace it does in every human.
It’s about compromise. YEC are exhorted to never, ever compromise on Biblical truth. That’s a good thing. Then they are told that the Bible clearly tells us that the Earth came into being in October of 4004 B.C., and anyone who questions this rock-solid fact is a compromised, and not a true Christian brother or sister. That’s a bad thing. I never read in the NT that Salvation comes from my faith in Christ, AND that I believe that creation occurred 6000 years ago.
One tiny example: tree ring dating.
Using cores from very old living trees and overlapping cores from older dead trees, tree rings from the deserts in California can be traced back over 11,000 years. I’m not saying the Earth is 11,000 years old, I’m saying that people with no interest in this little argument, lining up pieces of wood and counting rings (very low-tech) tell us it is at least 11,000 years old. YEC's have to turn a blind eye, or explain away dozens of these types of examples.
I could go on like this, but no one is listening. I've been praying to gain wisdom. I've read Genesis 1-3, very slowly, in three English translations. I've read the Wiki, along with following a lot of the links, for multiple beliefs. (very well done, I might add) I've dug out and read the two kid's books that spout YEC we have lying around here, and I've browsed Hugh Ross's "The Creator and the Cosmos" I'm tired.
Creation is more mind-boggling than any human can imagine – both on microscopic and universal scales. Genesis tells us almost nothing about how this all happened, but I trust God has told Moses all we needed to know at the time – and is having a great time letting us figure out the rest.
My Current Working Hypothesis:
I Do Not Know How God Created Everything– but I will keep my mind open to the wonders around me, and that will make me very unpopular in some social circles.