Looking at the word wrath to find out if the earth is young or old might seem ridiculous, but I will try to unravel this great mystery for us.
The story begins in Genesis 1:1, which says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The phrase “in the beginning” is the Hebrew word rê’shı̂yth, which means the first in place, time, order, or rank. I could read this sentence in this manner, “in beginning,” God created. There is NO reference to the time spent doing this, nor does it limit God from doing more and other things.
Because we have accepted what our pastors said, without question, we do not challenge the ill-informed creation stories and do not understand or believe that the earth was perfect in its creation.
The prophet Isaiah backs up this assertion.
“For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else. “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place‘; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.” (Isaiah 45:18-19 NAS95)
The only assumption we are left with is that verse one demonstrates that the creation was done and it was good.
So now we get to verse two and find this.
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2 NAS95)
Whoa, stop right there. Something drastic happened between verses one and two, yet we deny it and ignore how or why this occurred.
Look at this phrase “the earth was formless and void.”
Formless is the Hebrew word. The Word Study Dictionary states this. tōhû: A masculine noun meaning formlessness or confusion. The exact meaning of this term is difficult at best since its study is limited to its relatively few Old Testament occurrences. It is used to describe primeval earth before the seven creative days (Gen_1:2); a land reduced to primeval chaos and formlessness (Isa_34:11; Isa_45:18; Jer_4:23).
Void is the word bōhû and, according to the “WSD,” implies “a masculine noun indicating void or emptiness. It depicts the state of matter after God had created it…”
It is evident that this earth was destroyed after God’s initial creation. I will say that I think Dr. Ken Hamm is doing the Christian community a great disservice by pressing intensely for a young earth created in 24 hours segments when the origins of the Genesis account, in conjunction with Isaiah 45:18, DO NOT support a six-day creation within 144 hours. I will also say that I do not know how Dr. Hamm orates this position, but I have experienced a couple of young earth advocates, and several of them went to his creation science museum and returned as proponents of a young earth.
As I am writing this, it occurs to me that this 144-hour time frame might apply if it was merely the installation of a relatively small garden in Eden and a general clean-up of the destroyed earth. But even that seems foolish.
So there had to be another force acting upon the earth, and there was.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.” Rev 12:12 KJV
Do a search for the word wrath, and you will find, depending upon the translation, that there are at least eleven references in Revelation alone. Most point to God as the originator of that wrath, but one of those passages is directly attributable to Satan, and you can see that above.
Wrath seems like such a simple word and easy to understand, and that is why few bother to look it up in Greek. The Strong’s concordance tells us that it is the Gk word thumos with a primary meaning of passion (as if breathing hard): – fierceness, indignation. One of the last options is the word wrath.
Webster’s dictionary defines PASSION as “the impression or effect of an external agent upon a body; that which is suffered or received. The feeling of the mind, or the sensible effect of impression; excitement, perturbation or agitation of mind; as desire, fear, hope, joy, grief, love, hatred…”
As you can see from the definition of passion, Satan was acting under the premise of receiving a wounding from God; and the agitation and hatred that brings.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)
To understand this verse, I need to ask, to which point in time is Peter speaking?
I ask this because Jesus told us, while He walked this earth, that He beheld Satan fall like lightning, and standing among His disciples, He wasn’t talking about yesterday. He was speaking about a time much closer to creation.
It is evident from this statement that this event where Satan fell happened long ago. Since we find Satan in the garden seducing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, then it is safe to say Satan’s fall occurred at or before the garden creation. (This scenario with Satan’s fall has a wide variety of options and may play into the “Gap Theory” that is notable between Gen 1:1 and 1:2.) (Luke 10:18)
Alright, I went there and brought up the “Gap Theory,” so let’s pursue this for a few minutes.
Genesis, in most translations, opens in this manner, “In the beginning.” The problem is that this phrase is wrapped up in one Hebrew word – rê’shı̂yth. It means the first, in place, time, order, or rank.
The passage could easily be read “in beginning,” indicating a process and still making sense. Creating the heavens and the earth was the first thing God did; this opens the door to Him doing other things, and we haven’t made it past verse one yet.
What did God do?
He created the heavens and the earth.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 NASB)
Created – the Hebrew word used to express this creating was bārā’. “It is a verb meaning to create. God is the only subject of this verb. It is used for His creating: heaven and earth.” But it is also indicative of Him creating: humanity (Gen_1:27); the heavenly host (Isa_40:26); the ends of the earth (Isa_40:28); north and south (Psa_89:12 ); righteousness; salvation (Isa_45:8); evil (Isa_45:7). (Word Study Dictionary)
Did God make any mistakes?
No, and I will prove it to you.
“For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited, “I am the LORD, and there is none else. “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright.” (Isaiah 45:18-19 NASB)
Established is the Hebrew word kûn: According to the Word Study Dictionary, it is A verb meaning to set up, to make firm, to establish, or to prepare. The primary action of this verb is to cause to stand in an upright position, and thus the word also means fixed or steadfast.
Waste place is the Hebrew word tôhû. Used twice, it means to lie waste; a desolation (of the surface), that is, formlessness, confusion; figuratively a worthless thing; without form.
According to Isaiah 45:18-19, this is NOT what God created. “He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited.”
And yet, what does Genesis 1:2 say?
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2 NASB)
Obviously, something caused the earth to change. Some might try to tell you that this was a part of the creation process. For example, some believe that the planet and the heavens were formed from a hot spinning mass. However, based on what we see in the scriptures, especially Isaiah 45, that does not seem likely.
Formless, as used in Genesis, is the same Hebrew word we saw in Isaiah, tôhû – a worthless desolation. Void is the Hebrew word bôhû and means an undistinguishable ruin.
So, according to Isaiah 45, the earth was made in a manner appropriate for life, and the life of humanity, once that happens.
What does all that mean to you and me?
It means that something horrific happened between Genesis 1:1, where we see creation, and 1:2, where we find formless, void, and darkness. There is no reason to see this destruction as anything other than Satan being thrown to the earth.
You should realize that there is NOTHING in scripture that defines how much time lapsed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. If you hold to the idea that the earth, living things, and, in time, two humans were created in six, 24-hour days, then you are sadly deceived. For example, when Adam committed treason, God slaughtered an animal, specifically a lamb.
(I can tell you that because Abel knew how to make a proper sacrifice, and yet you – the reader, have NO indication that God told Abel, and Cain for that matter, how to do that. So our only logical assumption is that the clothing for Adam and Eve was made from lamb skins and that the lambs were used to teach Adam how to make a proper sacrifice, which he then had to share with the boys that were going to have to make their own sacrifices several years from this point.
And I want you to think about one more aspect of communication from God to man.
How did Eve know NOT to touch that particular tree in the garden?
We do not see God talking to Eve; we only see God speaking to Adam about the tree. Therefore, it would have been Adam’s position, as the one having dominion, to have shared that information with Eve.
Now, think about Satan saying to Eve, did God really say that? Now, think about Satan disparaging Adam and creating doubt that Adam told her the truth and was merely trying to control her; and he belittled God, for God would not have imposed such restrictions upon you. A conversation built on these premises would have allowed Satan to deceive Eve. Remember that Adam is standing just off her shoulder and could have called down the power of heaven against this foolishness, but he said nothing.)
I have been around religious zealots long enough to hear every ridiculous argument against what I just said. That lamb had to go through the birthing process, and sorry, but that takes months, not hours. Look, this Bible is a Jewish book, and in the majority, even the Jews, did NOT interpret the creation as a six-day, twenty-four-hour format; therefore, neither should you.
Secondly, if you are trying to hold to six 24-hour days for the creation, what do you do with the fact that there was no time until the fourth day? (See Genesis 1:19)
The point here is that Satan, at some point, was thrown to earth, and that act created vast and encompassing ruination; and that is quite possibly what we see when we read Revelation 12:12, where it says, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.” So, in his great wrath, Satan trashed the place, which had to be repaired.
Job tells us that Satan was already here, walking about the heavens among the sons of God.
“Now on a certain day, when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Satan also was present among them. And the Lord said to him: Whence comest thou? (The NLT translation reads “Where have you come from?”) And he answered and said: I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it.”
(Job 1:6-7 DRB)
Then, Satan’s coming down to the earth predates the fall of humankind in the garden. I suppose this opens an entire other can-o-worms, but the point is that the planet got a makeover, or Adam walked among the earth and its animal life in a corrupted state without concerns.
What do we have that might answer how Adam could have walked fearlessly among Dinosaurs (you cannot deny they were here)?
Adam, the man, was given dominion over the earth and all the animal life. He was God on this earth.
The only record of animals fearing humankind shows up after the flood.
“The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. (Genesis 9:2 NAS95)
Did you notice that fear is only one way, and they fear us? That tends to indicate that humans interacted with the animals.
Since an obvious assumption would be that the earth had all the beauty and horror one could imagine. Even Dr. Ken Hamm has animals on the ark exhibit that have long been extinct. So Adam might have needed to avoid tar pits, quicksand, and volcanic activity. And leads to another potential solution on God’s part.
A garden looks different to various people, so when I traveled through the Arizona desert in America and stopped at the Petrified Forest, the displays indicated a lush tropical environment, which is a garden to me. This suggests that the entire planet was a garden. With the destruction that came, it may have been necessary for God to construct a special one for Adam.
So then, this great wrath of Satan, how is it demonstrated?
In the form of trials and tribulations, that wrath is a regular part of the believer’s life.
Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world, and we are certainly a part of the world.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 NASB)
A secondary consideration is that we who are followers of Christ are in Christ and therefore look and act like He did.
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
(1 Peter 5:8 NASB)
A famous passage exhibiting the wrath of the dragon (one of Satan’s names) can be found in Revelation 12.
“And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. (16) But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. (17) So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
(Revelation 12:15-17 NASB)
I firmly believe that the woman is Israel. This identification would be entirely acceptable because of: the time period – a period in which God is pouring out His wrath upon Israel for their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah, their unbelief, and their idolatrous ways.
We should have figured out by now that Satan is on the rampage – dishing out his own version of wrath, but do we know why?
The answer is yes. Initially, Satan is attacking the Jews, the woman’s children.
This fight was initiated in the Garden shortly after the fall.
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15 NLT)
Hostility between Satan’s offspring and the woman’s. I will leave you to figure out who these outstanding citizens are. However, because God allows those receiving Christ to be grafted into the vine, the draw effected by the Holy Spirit will continue up to the “great white throne” as multitudes will sincerely acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Before the millennial reign, they, too, will become targets of Satan’s followers. The statement that spells out the reason for the attack in Revelation 12:16,17.
“But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 12:16-17 NAS95)
The age of the earth is indeterminate, and an early church father, Origen (AD 185-254), wrote in his book, On First Principles, chapter V, that decay has been in effect in the natural world since the creation of the universe. We have also seen that death and chaos may have played a role in Adam’s surroundings because of Satan’s wrath; and yet Adam walked the earth fearlessly. One of the proofs of that is the statement that God made to Eve, “I will greatly multiply your pain and your travail; in pain you shalt bring forth children.” A statement like this makes NO SENSE unless she had borne children without pain.
So, with the acknowledgment that Eve had previously born children before the garden incident, it becomes easier to understand where Cain obtained his wife; why there was a “city” called Nod; and why Cain thought that others would kill him.
Understanding that the earth has been here for an indeterminate amount of time allows you to comprehend that there was a perfect creation, as attested to by God, out of the mouth of Isaiah and that something cataclysmic happened to change all of creation. It is easy to understand that Satan’s expulsion from his place of prominence was the event that destroyed the creation, and Genesis 1:2 shows God putting it back together.
Now whether the earth was a perfect sphere in which a mist watered the entirety of the planet is irrelevant. I don’t know about you, but I can look at the mountains covered with snow and see them as majestic. The oceans are still a fascination to me, and I love to catch fish. Deserts have their own strange beauty to them, and anywhere I can find a tree for shade quickly becomes my new favorite place. I can see God in all of them, and it matters not how long they have stood against time because any day now, my Jesus is coming back to take His bride home.
I found Him and accepted the fact that He wanted us to be His. The obstinate and foolish reject that idea. If you are NOT following Jesus, then you are following the destroyer, and you are following him to his destiny, hell. Why you would think that is attractive or intelligent is beyond me, especially when there is a home in the Father’s arms where love and peace will reign forever.
The idea of an old earth has been with me for about 17+ years now, but along this journey, I have been met with derision.
I have never heard a good argument to dissuade or disprove my beliefs. Still, my religious opponents go after the “gap theory” because there is no clear biblical backing for a gap. Yet, those choosing to fight against that gap lean heavily upon the idea that the creation all happened within 144 hours. I have never heard an adequate explanation of why there are dinosaurs or why those dinosaurs are billions of years old. One answer thrown at me expressed that God sped up time. Ah, but only to enhance your theory while ignoring others more intelligent than you. So that did not fly.
About eight years ago, the church I was attending had asked Dr. Hugh Ross to come and speak to our men’s group. Since he had just finished a seven-year study at his church on the book of Revelation, he was now available. I had become aware of Dr. Ross several years before this when a lady “friend” of mine told me that her atheist, science-teaching father had come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ by reading one of Dr. Ross’s books about the creation.
I remember tears rolling down my cheeks as the Holy Spirit affirmed in me, through Dr. Ross, things I understood from scriptures, but few else would pay any attention to. To be honest, these thoughts became fodder for Satan to bring doubts. That day, listening to Dr. Ross was monumental, and I wanted to shout because I became more convinced about what I saw in Genesis 1. Sadly, several men in attendance openly criticized Dr. Ross, not to his face but behind his back, and he was only a few feet away.
Really, are we that despicable? Apparently, the answer is yes.
Fast forward to 2022, when the subject of the Ark Experience in Kentucky comes up. Again, it seemed like an exciting and harmless topic, and it was until one in the group had to add that they had also gone to the Creation Science Museum and how they were now proponents of a young earth; and how all this came from the mind of Dr. Ken Ham.
Who is Dr. Ken Ham?
According to Wikipedia, “Dr. Kenneth Alfred Ham is an Australian Christian fundamentalist, young Earth creationist and apologist, living in the United States. He is the founder, CEO, and former president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian Apologetics organization that operates the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. “
Apparently, Dr. Ross had encountered harsh criticism from several religious zealots within the scientific community. Two groups, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and the Bible-Science Association (BSA), were the most vocal in opposition to what Dr. Ross began teaching in churches. In Dr. Ross’s book Creation and Time, he details in chapter eight how Henry Morris, the founder, and president of ICR, stated that “The continued insistence on an ancient earth is purely because of the philosophic necessity to justify evolution and the pantheistic religion of eternal matter.” i
Dr. Ross, on page 82 of his book Creation and Time, writes,
“To John Morris, evolutionism is ‘an unmitigated evil,” the philosophical root of “fascism, racism, Marxism, social Darwinism, and imperialism.” In his view, the “modern ills of promiscuity, homosexuality, abortion, humanism, new-age pantheism, etc.,” all “flower from the same evil root.” ii
Dr. Ross says, “in case any Christian fails to recognize the theorem, old-earth beliefs = evolutionism, evolutionism = unmitigated evil; therefore, old-earth beliefs = unmitigated evil. (John?) Morris calls the old-earth view “anti-Biblical” and “anti-theistic” and adds that “there can be no justification for a Christian adopting the old-earth concept.”
Dr. Ross goes on to say that “Henry Morris began to voice these opinions long before his son did. In a book entitled The Long War Against God, the elder Morris comments on social disintegration:”
“The failure of Bible-believing Christian churches and schools to aggressively defend and promote true biblical creationism [i.e., young- earth creationism] is a major cause of the takeover by evolutionary humanism of our entire society. …” iii
On page 83 of Dr. Ross’s book Creation and Time, he conveys that “Dr. Ken Ham of the ICR makes similarly severe charges against old-earth creationists.” On pages 84 and 85, Dr. Ross tells us that Ken Ham’s view is that “the old-earth view of creation destroys the basis of the Gospel message and the message of redemption.” iv
Dr. Ross points out that the Bible-Science Association agrees with Dr. Ken Ham’s assertions by saying that [Old-earth] theology denies the central teaching of Christianity … and rejects the connection that scripture establishes between sin, death, and Christ’s atonement. …In [this] theology, death is natural. Death was a reality for millions of years before man ever arrived to sin. This leaves Christ’s death on the cross as, at best, well-meaning, but besides the point.”v
I am NOT an educated Theologian, and my experiences with a couple of Theologians have been less than pleasant. However, it feels as if I have been a Christian all my life, and until I was about 23 years old, I was content to have others tell me what the Bible says. I am now 68, and for 45 years, I have been reading the Bible on my own, asking God some hard questions, and learning about God’s nature and character, yet I am always learning or having something revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. To have someone accuse me of being a false teacher simply because I can understand that the earth is old borders on blasphemy to me. Many of these young earth detractors are not content with merely calling us false teachers, even though I have never, in a group setting, attempted to teach an old-earth doctrine; I leave that to the scientists. But I have brought up the subject when I look up the Hebrew word rê’shı̂yth, which I find in Genesis 1:1, where it says, “In the beginning” God created. A simplistic read has my mind thinking that it was said and done. The problem is that the Hebrew implies “The first thing” God did. The logical approach is to assume that there would have been a second thing, and that is the direction the Jewish reader goes when reading Genesis 1:1. I would never have known that if I had not stopped to read with the intent to understand. The idea of an old creation is not new to me, but it has expanded how I look at the creation, and none of this diminishes what I know about God but magnifies His power and authority.
I posted this because it bothers me that we, the church think it is necessary to fling such caustic abuse at each other. I was raised in an environment where my religion was deemed better than yours. All this became more noticeable since 2020 and the lousy mask mandates. For me, this wasn’t about some form of influenza, it was about forced mask mandates, and those mandates suddenly infiltrated a faith-laden church body.
A friend of mine persistently says, what would Jesus do?
I can tell you that He fearlessly touched lepers and others and healed them. Friends shunned my wife and I at church when we refused to wear a mask during worship, as Governor Newsome illegally ordered. One dear lady from church, which I had known for several years and always had horrific colon issues and was quite frail. Throw the mask issue into the mix, and suddenly she could not let you near her. But think about these actions and how we lived before the mask mandates, which are gone now unless you go into a medical establishment. You could have had any number of diseases, and how would any of us know it unless you are sneezing all over people, like the thoughtless person in the other line at Walmart who sneezed on several of us – that really happened before Covid.
Oh, by the way, I lost a brother to Covid. He got infected because an attendee at their small church came in one night, and my brother, one of the pastors, went to greet him. Unfortunately, the man had an active case of Covid and coughed on my brother and the other pastor. My brother, who had other health issues, did not recover.
I have given you information and names, not because you need to take torches and rakes and storm their bastions, but because you need to know that people that you deem to be solidly grounded and sane are highly capable of adopting bizarre, emotionally based, false teachings, and denounce you if you disagree. You need to get your head into your Bible and study to understand. Let’s assume that you choose not to study the Word and, therefore, not make any changes in your life. Will you go to hell? No, but you will be fodder for a world gone mad and Satan’s demons. Why would you want to go that route?
i Morris, Henry M., “Recent Creation Is a Vital Doctrine,” Impact 132 (June 1984), page iv.
ii Morris, John, “How Can A Geology Professor Believe That the Earth is Young?” page d.
iiiMorris, John, page d.
ivHam, Ken, “Billions, Millions, or Thousands – Does It Matter?” Back to Genesis 29 (May 1991), page b.
vBSA editors, page 12