When interpreting any biblical text, you must look at it as the original readers did, as you should with any book. Doing this with the Bible, you must understand the basics of biblical interpretation. First, it was written by God (2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.”) And second, this means that it must have harmony, for God never changes, he stays the same. So if you find one thing stated in one book, you can prove or disprove your interpretation by comparing it to other passages of the Bible.

So this brings us to where it all started, Genesis. Genesis 1 and 2 give us a view of the Creation, by God. This takes place over a six day period (and a one day rest). This is where evolutionists start their criticizing of the Bible. “Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.” (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, page 31) Six-day creation is implied by the account in Genesis, but many Christians even believe that it can be interpreted in many different ways. Such as gap theory, day-age theory, and theistic evolution. I thought until recently that I was a day-age guy, myself, but found that I had been raised as a theistic evolutionist. There is confusion, so I will go into these and what they are, what they believe, and why creationists believe them to be wrong.

Theistic Evolution

This is the easiest of all creation beliefs to have. This is a step away from “Intelligent Design,” but still off. ID says that there was an “intelligent creator” that set the whole universe into action, which could be aliens, gods, or anything for that matter. It basically deifies the “natural forces” of evolution. Theistic evolution takes a step in the right direction by claiming solidly that it was God that was the creator, and that he created everything to evolve. This theory throws out the Creation account altogether as an old fairy tale given down through a scientifically ignorant culture.

Where does this fall short? Well, back to biblical interpretation: all Scripture is God-breathed! If it were written by ignorant people, and not by an all-knowing God, it would not be placed in the Bible! Basically, the followers of theistic evolution are believing everything that they are taught of evolution, but tacking God to the beginning.

Day-age Theory

Genesis gives us an account in six days as to what occurred in the beginning. Day-age theory states that those days aren’t days. They often cite 2 Peter 3:8, which says that for the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years, a day. They say that each of the days in the Genesis account could very well have been billions of years. This is not scientifically sound at all, which is why they modify the literal interpretation in the first place. The earth was no created before the stars, our sun, and the planets and vegetation did not come before the sun. And that isn’t even getting to the evolutionary issues. Many day-agers don’t believe in full evolution, but they believe that giving days the possibility of being billions of years, they reconcile with science.

What this theory ignores is that other passages of the Bible confirm that a day is a real day. (Exodus 8-11) They often claim that many of the dates in Genesis (which you can use to find the years between Adam and Noah, and Noah and Abraham) are wrong, added later (which both refute the godly nature of the Bible), or are not literal, but ages. The later doesn’t work either. Adam is said to be 930 years old at his death. If this were actually ages (thousands, millions, or even billions of years), he would have been ridiculously old. The days and years mentioned in Genesis must be taken literally!

Gap Theory

This theory states that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, and in that time the stars, planets, etc. were made along with the dinosaurs and pre-human animals. Then the war broke out in Heaven between Satan and the angels of God, and the result of him being cast out was the destruction of the earth and everything on it. They say that Genesis 1:2 should be “The earth became without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep,” but the original word for “was” (the normal translation) is hayah which always means “was”. This is isigesis (adding one’s own interpretation or words to the Bible).

This theory allows for a nicer fit into evolution, as the dinosaurs came long before mankind, and the stars and the planets did too, but it denies the Genesis account, as the sun and moon were created on the fourth day, not on the first day. So it is basically another way to try to fit into the evolutionary interpretation of the origin of the universe.

Literal Interpretation

Now there are of course many variations on those above, but those are the primary forms of interpreting Creation. The only other one is literal interpretation, which means that you read it as it is written. Six days and a rest. This is easy to do, because you do not have to figure out where the “missing years” are or where evolution fits in. A day is a day, and a year a year. Now why does this interpretation work, and the others do not? The Hebrew word for day used in the Genesis account is yom, which can mean a day or an age/time period. Wait before you point at what I said about day-age theory, I will get there. When an old man is telling of his youth, he’ll say, “In my day…” and we know he is talking about his youth. If you say, “I’ll be home in three days,” you mean you’ll meet me in three ages, somewhere between a few decades and millions of years. No, wait! You actually mean in three days, and I know that. Well, Genesis says, “Evening came, and morning followed. This was the second day.” God is numbering the days off as he gets through his checklist of Creation! He doesn’t say that many evenings came and their mornings followed does he? If God were trying to tell us how he created the universe in six days, could he say it any more clearly? No!

When interpreting the Bible, you look at each passage literally unless otherwise specified or if a literal interpretation is not logical or possible. You can read through Genesis, and find no reason to interpret it other than literal. If you allow for millions of years for Adam to evolve out of the pits of chemicals, you allow for millions of years of death and suffering. The Curse (death, disease, pain, and suffering) was handed to Adam for sinning against God. This was given to all the animals and life on the Earth. If mankind (and the animals) was dying long before the sin of Adam, then what was our punishment for sin? If you interpret Adam as just a figurative character in a fairy tale, where did sin come in? And if Jesus was the second Adam, and Adam wasn’t real, what was Jesus.

Interpreting Genesis in any other way starts breaking apart much of the rest of the Bible. Why? Because it is the foundation of the Word of God. If you took the foundation out from under a skyscraper, it would likely crumble, and so does the Bible. You either believe it, or you don’t. You don’t choose what is good to believe and what isn’t. That isn’t our job to do. Our job is to trust our Lord God, because he has given us life, and can surely take it back.