What year was it when the world began?
The Bible does not declare the year of the beginning. All that we know is that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." To me, that sounds pretty much like the "Big Bang" that the astrophysicists believe happened.
According to the Bible, at some point in the Earth's history, Lucifer was in control of the planet. He led a rebellion against God, lost, and was cast back down to Earth (Isaiah 14). God wiped out the planet and left it in a "without form and void" state after a great flood. Another description of this is seen in Psalms 104:5-9. It is clear that this is not a description of Noah's flood since the waters receded by a rebuke and in Noah's flood they naturally abated. 2 Peter 3 also indicates that the world has been destroyed more than once since the flood of Noah did not wipe out the Gr. kosmos (social system) of Noah. This did happen in Lucifer's flood. The remainder of Genesis 1 then records the restoration of the Earth to a livable state again. Of particular note, the command to Adam was to replenish the Earth - the same command given to Noah. The original creation of the Earth is also described in several other scriptures - Proverbs 8:22-31, Colossians 1:15-18.
There was some level of civilization on Earth during at least part of Lucifer's reign as the descriptions of the planet in this "without form and void" state note bird life and buildings were destroyed (Jeremiah 4). The rest of the passage from Jeremiah 4 matches the state of destruction recorded in Genesis 1 as well. Isaiah 45:18 declares that the Earth was not created in a vain state. The word vain here is the same as that translated void in Genesis 1:2, so it is clear that the world was not originally created void. The world became this way - a translation of Genesis 1:2 because of Lucifer's rebellion.
I find this interpretation of scripture consistent with the fossil record of the planet. That record has a long line of humanoids extending way back with very fragmentary evidence in some cases to almost 7,000,000 years. The species living for the greatest length of time appears to be homo erectus which branches off to homo neanderthalensis, and homo floresiensis quite recently in the geologic scale of things. The time frame for erectus was from approximately 1,800,000 to 130,000 years ago depending on what authority you go by. neanderthalensis and floresiensis were later, from around 350,000 years ago to about 12,000 years ago. At some point around 200,000 years ago homo sapiens came on the scene. It is thought that these coexisted with the others for a period of time.
Then, around 30,000 to 12,000 years ago, all the remaining offshoots died off. The only one that continued was homo sapiens sapiens. The non-Christian anthropologists would say that there was no interruption in modern man's line. Christians would say that the Bible is correct and that God wiped everything out and then started again due to Lucifer's rebellion. One thing is certain. All the other surviving variants of humanoids were cut off around the same time. Modern man continued. We would say that Genesis 1 is correct and that this happened with divine intervention.
These time frames fit in nicely with the rest of human history that the Bible presents. It is unclear how long Adam was in the Garden of Eden before he and Eve disobeyed God and were driven out. Thus, it is impossible to put a firm date on when this restorative process occurred. Adding up ages of individuals in the Bible, you can place the time of Adam being kicked out of the Garden of Eden to around 6,000 years from present time in rough numbers. From there back to the Genesis 1 restoration is not stated. It is perfectly possible that this would extend back to the 12 to 30,000 year period where the last upheaval is noted in the fossil record.
We have no basis to argue with the geologists who date the age of the Earth to approximately 4.54 billion years and put the age of the universe at roughly 13.75 billion years. Neither contradict what the Bible says.
The purpose of the Bible's Old Testament is to tell people enough history about the Jewish people and provide enough prophecies to identify Christ and the need for His divine sacrifice. It is also used to show that mankind, by its very nature, is sinful and needs a sacrifice for that sin to reconcile themselves with God. In the Old Testament, that sacrifice was the repeated blood of animal sacrifices. Christ came to provide the once and for all perfect sacrifice that would save us and set us free by the power of the Holy Spirit from sin.
The New Testament is designed to record some of the history of Christ's life and of the early church. This is done to help us know how to live under the new covenant that Christ made. It ends with a prophecy of what is to come after Christ returns for His church.
The Bible's purpose is not to teach anthropology through the ages. That it fits in with many anthropological claims is to be expected. God's word is truth.
Submitted by William Haller on