The Age of the EarthWhen was Planet Earth brought Into existence? This is a question on which many of our people are divided. But It Is a crucial matter, for some of our most important teachings are keyed to it.
There are three Issues here: (1) Did Creation Week occur 6,000, 10,000, or millions of years ago? (2) Was our planet created brought into existence at the time of Creation Week? (3) Was Creation Week seven literal days, or millions of years?
WAS CREATION WEEK SEVEN LITERAL DAYS IN LENGTH?
The answer to this question is also clearly given in the Spirit of Prophecy: Here are a few examples:
'Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. God Himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive weeks to the close of time. Like every other, It consisted of seven literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day and set it apart as a day of rest for man ." Patriarchs and Prophets, 111.
The above quotation comes from the chapter, "The Literal Week," in Patriarchs and Prophets (pages 111- 116). As we would expect, the Spirit of Prophecy clearly explains the underlying issue, and it is this:
"The assumption that the events of the first week required thousands upon thousands of years, strikes directly at the foundation of the fourth commandment. It represents the Creator as commanding men to observe the week of literal days in commemoration of vast, indefinite periods. This is unlike His method of dealing with His creatures . It makes indefinite and obscure that which He has made very plain. It is infidelity in its most insidious form; its real character is so disguised that it is held and taught by many who profess to believe the Bible. Patriarchs and Prophets, 111.
" 'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.' Exodus 20:8-11. "This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the days of creation to be literal." Patriarchs and Prophets, 111.
So there it is: Satan leads men to confuse and mystify the plain words of God in regard to the Creation, in order to erase the grand truth about the Bible Sabbath!
"It is one of Satan's devices to lead the people to accept the fables of infidelity; for he can thus obscure the law of God, in itself very plain, and embolden men to rebel against the divine government. His efforts are especially directed against the fourth commandment, because it so clearly points to the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth." Patriarchs and Prophets, 113.
The seven days of Creation Week were seven literal days the same kind of 24-hour days we have now. Each day of Creation consisted of a 12-hour nighttime and a 12-hour daytime: "And the evening [night time] and the morning [daytime] were the first day." Genesis 1:5. Thus each 24-hour day began at sunset. It is for this reason that we are told, "From even unto even [evening to evening sunset to sunset] shall ye celebrate your Sabbath." Leviticus 23:32.
"Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed." Patriarchs and Prophets, 112.
The creation of all life-forms in this world occurred during Creation Week. For example, man, the crowning act of Creation, was made on the sixth day. He did not evolve over hundreds of thousands of years.
'God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over . . all the earth.
So God created man..' Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions. God created man in His own image. Here Is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man's narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. " Patriarchs and Prophets, 44-45.
Yes, the creation of all life-forms on this planet took place during Creation Week. But did the creation of the Inorganic substance take place at that time? Was our world brought into existence during Creation Week, or was it created at some distant earlier time in eternity?
WHEN WAS OUR PLANET CREATED?
We shall focus much of this present study on the creation of the spherical planet upon which we live.
We will do this because so many of our science teachers received their doctoral degrees in worldly universities and were taught evolutionary concepts and in order to intermingle their Darwinistic interpretations with those of historic Adventism, the majority of them either believe that (1) Creation Week took place 6-10,000 years ago, but Planet Earth was created millions of years ago, or that (2) all life-forms, and the earth itself, were created millions of years ago.
When certain of our intellectuals discuss Creation Week and the creation of the inorganic substances of this world, they separate the two. In regard to "Creation Week," they have in mind only the bringing into existence of living things plants and animals. The creation of the inorganic portions of the world, they consider to have been a separate occurrence of many long ages earlier.
From the statements given in our previous tract, The Age of the Earth [PG-201], we know that Creation Week occurred about 6,000 years ago. But was our world this planet created at that time? Here are the answers from the springs of pure truth.
WAS THE WORLD BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE DURING CREATION WEEK?
It has been said that the Spirit of Prophecy supports the notion that the earth was made millions of years before Creation Week, be cause of one particular statement:
"As God called forth the earth in its beauty out of chaos, so we can bring order and beauty out of confusion." Education, 215.
If you will check on the meaning of the word, "chaos," in a good dictionary, you will learn that it has two meanings. The first is this: "formless matter out of which the cosmos, or ordered universe, supposedly evolved." But there is also the primary meaning of the word, which is "empty space. "This definition comes from the Latin, "chaos," meaning "empty space;" which in turn comes from the Greek, "chaos," meaning "space." Thus, the original definition of the word was "space" or "nothingness," not "matter."
But, at this point, some may say that we are applying the wrong definition of the word. But no, we are giving you the correct Spirit of Prophecy definition of this word in this passage, for, as we shall see below, only "empty nothingness" would agree with all the other Spirit of Prophecy passages dealing with the the creation of our planet.
Having said this, we now want to tell you that there are other Spirit of Prophecy statements in which "chaos" is used in that other definition of "confused matter:" Replying to the point that the Greek and Latin pagan myths spoke of creating the universe (the cosmos) out of a chaos of formless matter, we are told: "The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all the other days have have followed. " Patriarchs and Prophets, 112.
Read the above passage a second time, and notice that it does more than merely repudiate the "cosmos (formed matter) out of chaos (unformed matter)" myth of paganism. It also infers that the earth itself was made during Creation Week. Here is another passage denying the heathen chaos theory:
"Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years. Such a conclusion is wholly uncalled for. The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Of the first day employed in the work of creation it is written, 'The evening and the morning were the first day' . ." Education 128-129.
Once again we see both a denial of the chaos theory, and a linking of the creation of our planet with Creation Week. The creation of our world and all that is in it took place entirely within the six days of Creation Week. After discussing the literal ness of each day of Creation Week, the above paragraph concludes with yet a third denial of the chaos theory:
"In regard to the work of creation it self the divine testimony is, 'He spake, and it was; He commanded, and it stood fast" (Psalm 33:9). With Him who could thus call into existence unnumbered worlds, how long a time would be required for the evolution of the earth from chaos? In order to account for His works, must we do violence to His word?' ' Education, 129.
It is quite obvious that we continually find a linking of the creation of this world with Creation Week. In the above paragraph, also notice that a world is brought into being INSTANTLY by the Creator. He does not need or use a long span of time in which to do it.
There are a number of statements linking the creation of this world with Creation Week. Describing the events of Creation Week, in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 47, we are told that during that time, "the foundations of the earth"were "laid." That means that the spherical orb of our world was made during that special Week. During that Week, God "had created all the wonders of the land and the sea." During that Week, He did not merely create the wonders of plant and animal life, He created the sea and land also! The wonders of land and sea include not only plant and animal life, but also the wonders of water, soil, rock, mineral, and precious stone.
WAS OUR PLANET BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE 6,000 YEARS AGO?
We earlier learned that Creation Week occurred approximately 6,000 years ago. And we have just seen that the creation of our world took place during Creation Week. Should we not, therefore, find clear-cut statements to the effect that Planet Earth was brought into existence 6,000 years ago? Here is a statement that says just that:
"Many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that Creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. " 3 Spiritual Gifts, 92; Signs, March 20, 1879; first quotation in our tract, "The Age of the Earth" [PG-201].
The above statement links Creation Week with the creation of our world, and says that our planet was brought into existence approximately 6,000 years ago.
BUT I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT THE WORLD HAS BEEN HERE FOR COUNTLESS AGES!
You were taught wrong. The Word of God alone can teach you the truth about the Creation of this world. All other evidence, natural or scientific, when compared with the teachings of the Word of God, will be found to be in agreement with it; that is, when enough data is available. There may be times when apparent disagreement will be perceived, but this is due to madly inadequate information. The best-kept secret of our century Is that the theory of Evolution either of our planet or of the life-forms on it does not have valid scientific support. We do not have space to substantiate that in this present paper, but it is so, and if our Father grants time in which to do it, the present writer plans to prepare a book that will succinctly explain this.
"As an educating power, the Bible is without a rival. No scientific works are so well adapted to develop the mind as a contemplation of the great and vital truths and practical lessons of the Bible. No other book has ever been printed which is so well calculated to give mental power. Men of the greatest intellects, if not guided by the Word of God in their research, become bewildered; they cannot comprehend the Creator or His works." Fundamentals of Christian Education, 84.
"The Bible has the most instructive and comprehensive history that has ever been given to the world. Its sacred pages contain the only authentic account of the Creation. Here we behold the power that 'stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth.' Here we have a truthful history of the human race, one that is unmarred by human prejudice or human pride.' ' Fundamentals of Christian Education, 84-85; 5 Testimonies, 24-25.
Two Important points should be kept in mind: (1) God was not indebted to pre-existing matter when He created our world and everything In it. (2) There was no matter here when He created our planet.
"The theory that God did not create matter when He brought the world Into existence Is without foundation. In the formation of our world, God was not indebted to pre existing matter. On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things therein, are not only the work of His hand; they came into existence by the breath of His mouth" 8 Testimony, 258-259.
Immediately after the above are quoted two Bible verses that convey that same truth!
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Hebrews 11:3.
"By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth..
He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." Psalm 33:6-9.
You and I do not dare to question the reliability of Scripture! Let us accept the great truth that God made the earth and everything in it in six days, and then rested the Seventh!
"God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in the discoveries of science and art; but when professedly scientific men reason upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, they are sure to err. The greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God, become bewildered in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation. The Creator and His works are beyond their comprehension; and because these cannot be explained by natural laws, Bible history is pronounced unreliable.
"Those who question the reliability of the Scripture records have let go their anchor and are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. When they find themselves incapable of measuring the Creator and His works by their own imperfect knowledge of science, they question the existence of God and at tribute infinite power to nature." 8 Testimonies, 258 (compare Patriarchs and Prophets, 113).
It is a serious matter. Stay by the Written Word and you will be safe. Do not trade it for the speculations of supposedly great men.
OUR WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT WAS CREATED IN ONE WEEK!
"Human philosophy declares that an Indefinite period of time was taken In the creation of the world. Does God state the matter thus?
No; He says, 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for In six days [not six indefinite periods of time; for then there would be no possible way for man to observe the day specified in the fourth commandment] the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.' Please read carefully the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. God says again, 'Remember [do not forget] the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . For In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.' " Testimonies to Ministers, 135 [all bracketed comments hers].
"Yet with the living oracles before them, those who claim to preach the Word present the suppositions of human minds, the maxims and commandments of men. They make void the law of God by their traditions. The sophistry in regard to the world's being created in an indefinite period of time is one of Satan's falsehoods.
God speaks to the human family in language they can comprehend. He does not leave the matter so indefinite that human beings can handle it according to their theories. When the Lord declares that He made the world in six days and rested the seventh day, He means the day of twenty-four hours, which He has marked off by the rising and setting of the sun." Testimonies to Ministers, 135-136.
Is that not clear enough? What reason Is there for any of the people of God to Imagine that our world and all within it was not made within the confines of Creation Week? Here is another statement just as clear:
"God made the world In six literal days, and on the seventh literal day He rested from all His work which He had done, and was refreshed. So He has given man six days in which to labor. But He sanctified the day of His rest, and gave it to man to be kept, free from all secular labor. But thus setting apart the Sabbath, God gave the world a memorial." Testimonies to Ministers, 136.
"The Sabbath is God's memorial, pointing men to their Creator, who made the world and all things that are therein. " Testimonies to Ministers, 137.
The Sabbath could only be a memorial of that which was created in the six days of Creation Week. It is not a memorial to distant creations throughout the universe, such as the inhabited planets circling other stars. They were not made during Creation Week. So the Bible Sabbath could not be a memorial of the Creation of our world; if our world was not created during Creation Week! This is an Important point. Note that in all of the above statements, we are only told that this planet we live on and every thing within it were made during Creation Week. We are not even told that the planets in our solar sys tem were made at that time. I am not here saying when they were created; but I appeal to you to stay by the Word and exactly what it says. Do not go beyond it.
We do not have to know every thing in the universe, but we should know what sacred Scripture teaches. Mirroring that of Scripture, our concern as commandment- keepers should be to defend the fact that that which God brought into existence during Creation Week without the aid of any pre existing matter was our entire planet and everything on it, and the atmosphere surrounding it. We do not have to know everything in the universe, but we should know what sacred Scripture teaches, and definitely what it emphasizes. No man should attempt to falsify or deny that which Scripture emphasizes as truth.
We might at this point mention that there are a number of passages in which we are told that Satan's warfare against God began 6,000 years ago. (See our earlier tract, The Age of the Earth for these quotations.) In regard to this, keep in mind that the creation of our world was planned BEFORE the fall of Sa tan (read Story of Redemption, page 20), and that it was created immediately AFTER the fall of Satan (read Story of Redemption, page 19).
It was not "pre-existing matter," but "creative energy" that created our world. This Creative Act by the God of heaven took place In the presence and location of nothing absolutely no thing. Creative energy alone from the God of Heaven created our planet. Although not brought into existence at the same time that our world was made, all the other worlds, stars, and systems of the entire universe, along with all their contents were brought into existence in the very same way!
"The creative energy that called the worlds into existence is in the Word of God." Education, 126.
It is the same power the power of God Himself that sustains, maintains, and keeps all of His worlds in existence and operating in accordance with the laws He has appointed to govern each stone, plant, animal, planet, star, and galaxy.
"It is not because of inherent power that year by year the earth produces her bounties and continues her motion round the sun. The hand of God guides the planets and keeps them in position in their orderly march through the heavens . ." Mount of Blessing, 74-75.
Let us beware, lest we be found violating the Word of God by our imaginings.
"It may be innocent to conjecture beyond Bible history, if our suppositions do not contradict the facts found in the sacred Scriptures. But when men leave the Word of God in regard to the history of creation, and seek to account for God's creative works upon natural principles, they are upon a boundless ocean of uncertainty. Just how God accomplished the work of creation within six literal days He has never revealed to mortals. His creative works are Just as incomprehensible as His existence. " 3 Spiritual Gifts, 93.
"Many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. These, to free themselves of difficulties thrown in their way by infidel geologists, adopt the view that the six days of creation were six vast, indefinite periods, and the day of God's rest was another indefinite period; making senseless the fourth commandment of God's holy law. Some eagerly receive this position, for it destroys the force of the fourth commandment, and they feel a freedom from its claims upon them." 3 Spiritual Gifts, 92.
HOW OLD THEN IS THE SABBATH?
Have you noticed the careful connection through all of this study that exists between three things? Here they are: (1) The Creation of our planet, (2) the creation of everything In and on it, and (3) the creation of the Bible Sabbath.
All three of those things have the same Originator out of nothing, and the same origin in time. All three were brought into existence during Creation Week. And THIS FACT is but another POWERFUL proof that, DURING Creation Week, our planet was created ONLY 6,000 YEARS AGO!
"Against this argument it was shown that the Sabbath and Its observance were more ancient and widespread, even as old as the world itself, and bearing the sanction both of angels and of God. When the foundations of the earth were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath. " Great Controversy, 455.
"WHEN the foundations of the earth were laid . . THEN was laid the foundation of the Sabbath." That is what it says.
"The Sabbath institution, which existed In Eden, is as old as the world Itself. " Patriarchs and Prophets, 336.
The Seventh-day Sabbath was instituted at Creation. This is the teaching all through the Spirit of Prophecy (7BC 979; CG 533; DA 206, 281, 769; Ed 250; EW 217; FE 375; GC 437-8, 453, 455; LS 96; ML 140; PK18O; PP 47, 111,307,336; 5L74; 1SM 222; SR 145; 1T76; 2T 582-3; 4T 247; 7T 105; 8T 197; 9T 94; TM 136.) And the Creation of this world, and all within it, took place during Creation Week. This great truth is the basis for the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11)
Since "the Sabbath . . is as old as the world itself" (GC 455, quoted above), then to deny that the world was made 6,000 years ago during Creation Week Is to deny the Sabbath truth! It is as simple as that.