Hi Hugh, thank you for the privilege of learning from you in this forum. I have 2 questions. The first is related to what another posted above with regard to the age of the earth. I would like to understand when you see this universe as coming into being and, if this is an old earth, whether there were life forms prior to the creation of what we see in Genesis, and how that ties in with the biblical account.
The date for the cosmic creation event has been established by several independent measuring methods to be 13.79 ± 0.05 billion years ago. For an explanation and documentation see A Matter of Days, 2nd ed’n. The scientifically established date for the age of Earth = 4.5662 ± 0.0001 billion years, again as measured by several independent dating methods.
My interpretation of Genesis 1 is that it describes the origin and entire history of Earth’s life. More than that, Genesis 1 describes three distinct origins of life: 1) origin of purely physical life at the beginning of creation day 1; 2) origin of nephesh (soulish life) midway through creation day 5; and 3) origin of life in the image of God (physical spiritual beings namely us human beings) in the latter part of creation day 6.
The Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1, yom, has 4 distinct literal definitions: part of the daylight hours, all the daylight hours, a 24-hour period, and a long but finite period of time. Creation day 1 uses the second definition. Creation day 4 uses the third definition. Genesis 2:4 uses the fourth definition. The lack of an evening and a morning for the seventh day implies that we are still in the seventh day, s conclusion affirmed by Psalm 95, John 5, and Hebrews 4 and by the near total absence of speciation events during the human era. Furthermore, the events of the sixth day before Eve was created (Genesis 2) demand a significant passage of time. Thus, the Genesis creation days are six consecutive, non-overlapping, literal long periods of time.
See Navigating Genesis; Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job; and A Matter of Days, 2nd ed’n for details and documentation.