As a Young Earth Creationist, I’ve often found my views rejected by Old Earth believers, often on the basis that the “appearance of age” – a young Earth that looks old – would demonstrate, at best, that God intentionally misled man, while some go so far as to say the “appearance of age” would make out God to be a liar.
My question is, could a reasonable alternative to an “appearance of age” be that a young creation would necessarily have to be created mature – with “appearance” being irrelevant to function – in order to be self-sustaining?
The basis of my argument actually stems not from the whole of creation, but from Adam. Genesis describes him as being created as an adult, and in my opinion, this makes perfect sense from a purely functional standpoint. If I were to create a self-sustaining being from scratch, it wouldn’t create him as an embryo or a fetus – those require a life support system (their mother), and so they would not be self-sustaining. Similarly, I wouldn’t create them as an infant or a pre-adolescent – those require teachers, nurturers, providers (their parents or guardians), and so they would not be self-sustaining. Logically, if I were to create a self-sustaining being – the first of his kind – it would be necessary to create him as a fully grown, fully developed being with education enough to at least perform basic problem solving and survival.
In other words, he would necessarily look just like what we find in Genesis 2’s description of Adam.
This has dramatic implications on creation, I think, because just like Adam needed to be created mature – as a life “already in progress” as it were – in order to be created self-sustaining, I submit that a living, self-sustaining world would need to be created “already in progress”, and for the same reasons. After all, predators require prey to sustain them, which would require adults prey to repopulate after the herd is culled. Herbivores require plantlife to sustain them, which require plantlife mature enough to put out seed and grow to maturity in time to feed the next generation. Plants require organic matter in various stages of decomposition in order to sustain them.
Every aspect of life – of creation as a whole – shares this sort of inertia, such that whether God created the universe five billion years ago or five MINUTES ago, the self-sustaining nature of the world would require a certain level (and thus, a certain appearance) of maturity. I would argue that, if this dynamic is true, it would be a way to perfectly reconcile both scientific evidence of an old creation and a literal interpretation of Genesis, without having to compromise either.