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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

Day-Age Creationism

What is Day-Age Creationism?

Image from the Hubble Telescope

A viewpoint found in the Christian religion, Day-Age creationism is a popular form of Old-Earth creationism. According to this form of creationism, the word "days" in Genesis 1 refers to epochs of time, not 24-hour periods of time. Adherents often accept the scientific consensus for the age of the Earth - a common feature of "Old-Earth creationism," as opposed to "Young-Earth creationism," which posits a 10,000-year-old Earth.

Day-Age creationists look to biblical and current scientific evidence to support their position. Some of the biblical evidence includes:

  • Too many events are described on Day 6 of creation for it to have been a 24-hour period of time
  • There is no phrase such as "there was evening and there was morning, the seventh day" to conclude Day 7 implying that the seventh "day" is ongoing
  • The Bible indicates that God does not always count "days" the same way people, as noted in Psalm 90:4, "for a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night"
  • Genesis 2:4, which summarizes Genesis 1, in the original Hebrew says, "these are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created in the day of their making" (emphasis mine)
  • The Bible seems to indicate that the Earth is ancient (e.g. Habakkuk 3:6; 2 Peter 3:5)
  • Some figures of speech that are used in certain Bible passages point to an old Earth (e.g. Psalm 90:2-6; Proverbs 8:22-31; Ecclesiastes 1:3-11)
  • The descriptions of "evening" and "morning" are used metaphorically in Genesis 1
  • There are many places in the Bible where "days" describes long periods of time (e.g. "Day of the Lord")
  • Biblical genealogies have gaps, which means they cannot be used to determine the Earth's age

What do Creationists Believe?

Scientific evidence often cited by Day-Age creationists include:

  • The gaps in the fossil record are problematic for Darwinian evolution, but fit nicely inside the Day-Age view, which posits exticinction-and-replacement episodes
  • Contrary to Darwinian evolution, which hypothesizes more and more species, the Day-Age view holds that species will become less and less as "ages" go through a creation-and-disintegration process
  • Darwinian evolution cannot explain the Cambrian explosion where new life forms appear to have come into existence swiftly
  • DNA research suggests that the first woman is approximately 50,000 years old and the most recent common ancestor of men (which is Noah, not Adam) is approximately 37,000 to 49,000 years old

Critics of the Day-Age view offer many arguments of the creation model. Some contend that Genesis 1 does not correspond to current scientific understanding as neatly as Day-Age adherents sometimes suggest.

For example, Genesis 1 describes the sun, moon, and stars being created on Day 4 while plants and trees were created on Day 3, which according to the Day-Age view were millions of years apart.

In response to this, Day-Age believers suggest that there was a life-sustaining light of some kind mentioned in Genesis 1:1 and the description of Day 4 is in the past tense: "And God had made two great lights..."


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