Genesis and Jesus’ Genealogies Support an Old Earth

@LarryI and @deuteroKJ and @jongarvey and @Philosurfer, what is your take on the arguments in this article?

In conclusion, the Bible provides us with evidence that the six days of creation were not literal 24-hour days and that Jesus’ genealogies were abbreviated to exclude unimportant names. Readers can take comfort that the Bible supports scientific findings in cosmology and geology. Science is not the enemy of Christianity. In contrast, science gives us evidence in its support!


The argumentation assumes a level/kind of concordism with which I’m not comfortable. This is shown, for example, in the assumption that the “creation” of the sun on Day 4 has to do with the appearance of sunlight rather rather than the actual creation of the sun. Moreover, it’s clear to me and almost all OT scholars that “day” means “day” in Gen 1. This simply is not the point. The real issues have to do with genre and overall intent (well before we consider the place of general revrlation, e.g. scientific evidence, in theologizing). To put in other terms, I’m more interested in the meaning of the week than the days.

I do agree that the Luke 3 genealogy testifies to one name omitted from the Genesis genealogies. While this is solid evidence for gaps, it hardly “proves” an old earth or ancient human population. It seems best to me to ask more fundamental questions about the purpose of ancient genealogies and the numerology potentially involved.


In A Telling in Six Ordinary Days I do a similar sort of move in the day of the telling, but not in the analogue day. Are you more comfortable with that?

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More comfortable, yes (since not scientific concordism), though still not my preferred option.

What is your preferred option?

To not map “day” to anything specific. I see it as a literary construct.


But Adam is different for you, I suppose. Why?

Because of his appearance in the genealogies and the overall argumentation of Rom 5 and 1 Cor 15. More discussion would have to do with the genre differences between Gen 1 and other relevant texts.


While I do not at all deny the possibility that there might be some gaps in genealogies, I think it is erroneous to say that the days in Genesis 1 are not literal (24 hour) days. Exodus 20:11 poses a huge problem for such interpretive gymnastics:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

I like this article from @CPArand and David Adams (as well as @CPArand’s other origins-related articles at Concordia Theology):

P.S: Even if there are gaps in the genealogies, they definitely aren’t gaps of millions of years. :wink:


@J.E.S I agree with you technically though I suspect we still land at different conclusions. To me it’s not the literal day in question but the literal week. I totally get the argument based on Exod 20. But it seems to me your hermeneutic must assume Gen 1:1-2 is part of the six days. I personally can’t square that with Gen 1 itself, which then points me to other considerations on addressing Exod 20:8-11.

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Can we agree on a couple of things?

  1. Genesis 1 uses “day” in the ordinary sense; otherwise “the evening and the morning” don’t mean anything, the 7th day of rest doesn’t mean anything. The meaning can be reconciled with reality only by considering the story non-literal, that is that the seven days have symbolic, not historical, meaning.

  2. However long the periods, the sequence doesn’t fit the sequence of events known to science. Even if we allow “days” to overlap, the sequence doesn’t fit. The sequence can be rescued only by considering it non-literal; again, by supposing that the sequence is not intended as a historical sequence but has some symbolic importance.

Now, I’m not actually supporting a purely symbolic meaning; I think it was intended literally as well as symbolically, but that’s the only way to rescue biblical inerrancy, if that’s what you’re into.


From the article:

There is no such thing as creation *ex nihilo* (out of nothing) in any Ancient Near Eastern religion that we know of outside the Bible.
Then again, how much creation ex nihilo is there in Genesis 1? Light, maybe. Possibly a firmament, conceivably the heavenly bodies, though it doesn't actually say. But the earth arises from a separation of waters and a lifting, apparently, of dry land out of them. And plants and animals seem to arise from pre-existing materials.

Creatio ex nihilo is not necessary for Gen 1. it is taught elsewhere in the Bible, for those who care about that.

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