The Bible, Genesis & Geology

Introduction: The Ancient Earth

Geologic Time Spiral

The first verse of the Bible makes this simple declarative statement:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
 (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

Geologic Time SpiralThere is nothing in this verse that tells the reader how God created the heaven and Earth, nor is there any indication given of exactly when He created the heaven and Earth except, "In the beginning."

Earth scientists estimate that the age of the planet dates back to about 4.5 billion years ago at the beginning of an obscure geologic time named the Hadean Eon. The name is from the Latin word Hades and is descriptive of what scientists theorize was the state of the Earth when it first formed.

The prevailing theory is that the Earth accreted from rocks and dust orbiting the young sun. At first, the Earth's surface was covered by an ocean of magma that eventually cooled. When the planet's surface was cool enough, the water oceans were formed and things progressed from there.

The problem is, scientists can't know any of this for sure because there are no remaining rock formations from that far back in Earth's deep time geological record. Scientists also disagree about the source of the Earth's water and when it first appeared.

The Bible, however, does offer some insight into the conditions on the face of the Earth at that ancient time, but that information is not found in the first book of Genesis. It is found in the book of Job:

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
(Job 38:4-11 KJV)

Although the Bible is not a science book, it can be trusted to be scientifically accurate when it speaks of things concerning science. In the above passage, the reader is told that the early Earth's waters came from somewhere inside the Earth itself and broke forth to flood the surface. We can deduce from the wording that the Earth's surface was cool enough for water to exist on the surface in liquid form, at that time. It also tells the reader that Earth's early atmosphere was a thick accumulation of gasses (but not specified) that obscured the sunlight. Scientists theorize that the Earth's early atmosphere was probably composed mainly of molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur (and little oxygen) that vented from the magma, but even that hypothesis is the subject of ongoing scientific dispute and refinement.

Although we previously said that there are no remaining rock formations from this period of Earth's natural history, geologists have found inclusions of very ancient crystals of the mineral Zircon embedded within relatively younger rock formations (only around 3 billion years old) that can still be found on the Earth's surface. What those crystals can tell us are shaking the foundations of some prevailing theories about conditions on the Early Earth.

In 2002 a Zircon crystal was found by Prof. Stephen Mojzsis of the University of Colorado that dates to 4.38 billion years ago. A subsequent chemical analysis of that crystal revealed that it formed in liquid water. This modern-day scientific observation confirms the validity of what God told Job and his companions concerning what the Earth was like when He first created it. Both the zircon crystal and the Bible testify that there was liquid water on the Earth at that ancient time. It was not transported here by comets. And further, it means the early Earth was not the hellish molten planet that theorists had presumed.

The Bible has another important thing to say about the Earth's creation:

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
(Isaiah 45:18 KJV)

This raises additional issues. In the Job 38:4-11 passage it says that God was not inhabiting eternity alone in those ancient days when He first formed the Earth. Also present are living entities who are figuratively called "the morning stars" that sang and "the sons of God" who shouted. The passage suggests these beings were quite enthusiastic about the prospect of God's handiwork. That is because these spiritual beings were destined to be the first inhabitants of the ancient Earth. But who were they? The Bible identifies them as Princes (see Daniel 10:13, 21 & 12:1) and Angels (see Judges 13:6 & Revelation 21:17) respectively.

The Spirit also reveals through the Scriptures that a significant event took place on the Earth somewhere back in deep-time that profoundly affected the destiny of many of these ancient beings and set in motion both physical and spiritual processes that would change the entire course of nature. We will discuss this matter in detail in later chapters.

The important thing to understand for now is that these events in Earth's ancient history all took place long before the time of the Bible's seven-days of Genesis. There is a time-gap in the Genesis narrative between the first and second verses of Genesis chapter one. On this website you will learn why this is so. Here is a short video introduction to this subject matter:

Study Overview

GeologistThis study of Old Earth Creationism, the "Gap Theory" and Noah's flood deals with a variety of dispensational Bible doctrines and scientific concepts. The material covers topics and observations from multiple fields of study including geology, physics, chemistry, paleontology and meteorology. How the empirical observations (not theories) from these disciplines substantiate the narrative of the Holy Bible is the focus of this study. Considerable effort has been made to present this material in a format that is comprehensible to the widest possible audience.

This study also deals with various subjects of the Bible including literal history, Premillennial Eschatology, the doctrines of Salvation and eternal security of the believer, the origins of angels and devils, the structure of the Temple, the divisions of the body, soul, and spirit, the structure of the three (3) heavens and the Biblical systems of sevens (and other numbers). We also focus on the role of geology and the history of the lost rivers of the Garden of Eden and the future role of geology in prophecy.

 

Next Page: Earth Gap Sequence The History of the Genesis Gap Interpretation and its Basis in Bible Doctrine  Index Page: Genesis Gap Doctrine

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