According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Yet, the Christian Bible puts the age of the Earth at about 7,000 years. This impasse between science and Christian theology fuels a lively debate. Both sides are dug in and there is no compromise in sight. However, I believe I have a rather clever way of showing that the two are saying essentially the same thing.
The Bible is not always clear about what it is saying. A bible passage can produce a variety of interpretations. On the surface, passages in the Bible suggest a less than 7,000 year old Earth. In reality, I believe I can show that it is saying something completely different.
Biblical Time Conversion
In the Second Epistle of Peter from the King James Version of the New Testament, verse 8 of chapter 3 reads: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Most people interpret this to say that one creation day is one thousand years. The first two chapters of the Book of Genesis suggest that we are still in the seventh creation day. Together, these mean the Earth must be between 6,000 and 7,000 years old. This is the standard accepted biblical interpretation of the age of the Earth.
Verse 8 seems to repeat that one day is a thousand years within it. But, I think to say “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,” “and” “a thousand years as one day,” could be interpreted as providing two pieces of information. I think the “and” in the verse may indicate that additional, not redundant, information follows. If so, then the days and years mentioned in the first clause may not be the same days and years referred to in the second clause.
To show why this matters; first, I denote the days and years in the first clause as Days and Years (beginning with upper case letters). Next, I denote those in the second clause as days and years (beginning with lower case letters). Now, the verse says: 1 Day = 1,000 Years, and 1,000 years = 1 day.
Revised Biblical Age
Now, if I let a “Day” be a creation day, a “year” be a year as we know it, and a “Year” be 365 “days,” then, 1 Year becomes 365,000 of our years, and 1 Day, 365 million of our years. This would make the Bible’s six creation days (6 Days) 2.2 billion of our years. This is about half the 4.5 billion years geology says is the age of the Earth.
I can go one step further with this line of thought. In verse 4 of Genesis, God divides the light from the darkness. Then, in verse 5, He calls the light, “Day,” and the darkness, “Night.” To distinguish between Day and Night suggests that they are two independent entities, not two parts of an entity, “Day.” If I assume that God divided them equally, then a Night is as long as a Day, or 365 million of our years. Since there is a Night after every Day; then, in addition to the six creation Days, six creation Nights have also elapsed. This means that I have to add another 2.2 billion years to the Bible’s Earth age, making it 4.4 billion years. This is essentially the same as the geological age of the Earth.
Lost in Translation
Some may argue that the verse says that only one piece of information is given — “… be not ignorant of this one thing…” However, when I examined the original Greek text of the verse and English translations of it reveal some interesting things.
The first three words in the Greek version of verse 8 are “en de touto.” All of the English-translated versions of the verse (shown below the Greek passages in this link) I found translate this to “But … this one thing,” with the word “en” as the word “one.” However, I found that “en” is usually the preposition “in.” The Greek word “de” translates into the English word “but,” and the Greek word “touto” translates to “this.” So, the phrase “en de touto” appears to be saying “But … in this.”
Also, the two other times the word “one” is used in the verse, the Greek word “mia” is used; not “en.” This suggests that “en” is not intended to be the word “one.” Given all of this, I think the opening phrase of the verse, Peter could have easily been trying to say: “But, beloved, in this be not ignorant, that one day …” Now, the verse does not imply that only one piece of information is given.
I am not saying that this is what the Bible says; I am not a theologian. I am just an analyst offering an interpretation of what is in the Bible that brings it and science into agreement. After all, they are talking about the same thing. If they are both valid, ideally, they should come to the same conclusion, right?