3 - Young Earth Creationism vs Old Earth Creationism (YEC vs OEC)

December 20, 2020

3 - Young Earth Creationism vs Old Earth Creationism (YEC vs OEC)


For this section, we are going to be breaking down some of the key differences between YEC (Young Earth Creation) vs. OEC (Old Earth Creation). 

The Young Earth vs Old Earth debate is definitely an interesting one.  Some also refer to it as young earth theory vs old earth theory.

In this section, we hope to provide a fuller understanding of both sides.

So how old is the earth biblically?  What about the universe?

Young Earth Creationists (YECs) are individuals who believe in a Genesis account referring to a 24-hour day.

Young Earth Creationism - Literal 24-hour day

When Moses, who is generally seen as the one who wrote the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament), is recording these events, he is recording them as Day 1, Day 2, etc.

Well, Young Earth Creationists (YECs) believe each day recorded is a 24-hour day.  Old Earth Creationists (OECs) believe that it refers to a period of time. 

Young Earth Creationism - Age of the Earth

Here's why.

The word that is used in the book of Genesis to refer to day is the Hebrew word, "yom",  Now, the literal definition of this word is, "a collection of".  

So literally, the Genesis account reads, "On Day 1 (collection 1), on Day 2 (collection 2) etc..."

Interestingly, in almost all cases in the Bible, when there is a number next to the word, "yom", it is referring to a 24-hour day.  However, this is not true in ALL cases in the Bible, but most of them.

Here is a picture of the word yom, written in Hebrew, from Answers in Genesis, a very popular Young Earth website that is worth checking out, started by Ken Ham.

Young Earth Creationism - YOM

OECs would say that Moses, who was recording this (who lived around 1400 to 1500 BC), was not around at the beginning of the universe (obviously).  And God was showing him a collection of events, from the past, that had occurred.

OECs would say that God showed him the first collection of events (yom 1 (collection 1), then the second collection of events (yom 2 (collection 2)), and so on.  

Just to reiterate, OECs believe that when God was showing Moses events from the past, he showed him on Yom 1 (collection 1), these events occurred, on Yom 2 (collection or day 2), these events occurred, and so on.

Now it is important to understand that OECs are still Christians, they are still people who believe in Christ.

When I first started learning about apologetics, and someone would say that the universe is older than 10,000 years, I would cry, "Heresy!" because I didn't understand that, again, the Hebrew word used for day (yom) literally means "a collection of".  

Young Earth Creationism - Heretics

So again, YECs (the Young Earth view) believe the universe was created in 6 literal 24-hour days, and that the universe is around 6 to 10,000 years old.  So IS the earth 6000 years old?  How old IS Earth in the Bible?

And OECs (the Old Earth view) believe the universe could be millions or billions of years old.  And these are the main two beliefs, but of course there are also Christians (who love Jesus) who believe it is somewhere in the middle (maybe hundreds of thousands of years old).

Now of course God could have created the universe in 6 days, He could have created it in 6 seconds, God is God.

It is also important to make the distinction between OECs and Darwinian Evolutionists or Theistic Evolutionists (those who believe that humans still evolved into becoming humans from an earlier species similar to apes). 

Young Earth Creation - Evolution

I am not going to get into refuting Theistic Evolution in this blog, but just know that if you want further understanding of it, there is a 1,200-page book called, "Theistic Evolution," that critiques this belief.

Theistic Evolution - Young Earth Creationism

It is important to note that all of Cosmology (the study of the origin of the universe), and all of geology (the study of the earth's physical structure and substance) seem to point to an old earth (that the universe is older than 6 to 10,000 years old).

So is there evidence for a young earth?  Does the Bible say the earth is 6000 years old?

Well, to explain cosmology and geology, YECs will say that God created the universe with the "appearance of age".  Just as God created Adam and Eve, not as babies, but as adults, He did the same with the universe.

YECs would also point to issues with carbon and radiometric dating that have occurred, like trees being planted 40 years ago, which go through a strong storm, and then are carbon-dated, and show to being millions of years old.  And YECs will point to the flood as the tumultuous event that made everything appear to be older than it is.

Here is a video we put together that explains a bit more what carbon dating is, as well as provides a more in-depth understanding of the topic:


What is Carbon Dating? - Ultimate Guide to Christian Apologetics


So OECs are pointing to carbon and radiometric dating to substantiate their beliefs, while YECs are showing that these methods are unreliable. 

There are many different directions you can go with this.  People will quote 2 Peter 3:8, to show that there are differences in our understanding of time and that of God.

2 Peter 3:8 - Ultimate Guide to Christian Apologetics

And when you begin to study Relativity and see how time itself was created, and that time can be different from different relative view points, etc. things can get very tricky.  But we are not going to get tricky, because this is more of an introductory blog.

The important thing to understand is that there are 2 primary beliefs (within the Christian community) for how the universe came about, and with both views the Christians are true and sincere, and both have good and interesting reasons for their beliefs, and it is worth studying the evidence for yourself.

We don't know exactly when it was created, but we know WHO created it, and that God created us in HIS image, that we didn't evolve from ape-like ancestors, but that God truly created us. 

Here is a video we put together which goes over what we have just discussed.

Young Earth Creation (YEC) vs. Old Earth Creation (OEC) - Ultimate Guide to Christian Apologetics

Further Resources:

For further reading on this topic, I recommend a few books.  The first two are Old Earth books, A Matter of Days, by: Dr. Hugh Ross, and Seven Days That Divide the World, by: Dr. John Lennox.

For a Young Earth reading, I recommend Six Days: The Age of the Earth and The Decline of The Church, by: Dr. Ken Ham.


Young Earth Creation books

In this next section, we will begin our section on maybe the most important section that points to God - morality.