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- Last Updated: March 3, 2014
- Originally Published: July 18, 2012
The Bible begins with the account of God creating the world. Creationism is the modern term for the belief that God constructed the planet Earth from nothing. Among the most famous creationists is Ussher, who calculated that creation began in 4004 BCE. The vast majority of modern Christians believe that God created Earth and man directly, though there are many competing theories regarding how and when this was accomplished. The Bible begins with the account of God creating the world.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
In addition to this creation narrative, recorded in Genesis 1-2:3, there is a second account found in Genesis 2:4-25. Why the scriptures include two accounts is debated. It is possible that the current Old Testament was compiled from multiple sources, which may account for the duplication.
Young Earth Creationism
Traditionally Christians tended to take creation stories literally, believing that God created the Earth and people in their present form within the last several thousand years. Numerous chronologies have attempted to pinpoint creation, the most popular being that of Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656). After careful study of the biblical accounts, he concluded that God created the Earth beginning the evening of Saturday, October 22nd, 4004 BCE. Adam and Eve, therefore, were driven out of the Garden of on Monday, November 10th, 4004 BCE. Scientific developments and discoveries during the past two centuries, however, have challenged these traditional views, and those Christians who still maintain these views are often referred to as Young Earth Creationists. Young Earth Creationists believe many scientific chronological methods, such as carbon dating, are fundamentally flawed and that the written word of the Bible is superior and infallible..
Old Earth Creationism
Some Christians view creation stories figuratively, holding that humans evolved under divine guidance over several billion years. Some also call this “theistic evolution.” They believe God set the laws of nature in motion—including evolution—then let nature take its course. Opinions vary on how much God was actively guiding or interfering with the evolutionary process. Christians who hold this worldview translate "Adam" from Hebrew to mean "persons," signifying a race rather than an individual. They also believe the word translated as "day" implies an "age" or "era." According to Old Earth Creationists, the Genesis accounts are stories written to explain scientific truths to a people who had little knowledge of science in the modern sense. Likewise, science as it is presently defined did not exist until after the Bible was completed. Christians with this view often argue that there is no science to be found in.