Based on ACTS 17:19
Did God create the heavens and the earth in six literal days?
No, to Gen 1:1. Also, “no” to “literal 24 hours” but “yes” to literal “sunset-to-sunset” in Gen 1:2 and onwards. How so? Reconciling scientific data with what has been biblical understanding is challenging.
On one hand, the omnipotence of Creator God should not be doubted. He can do anything, even in “one day”, except that in wisdom the Gen. narrative was “6 days and rested on the 7 th day”.
On the other hand, how could one “ignore” dating the “universe” millions of years? To others, that may require “cognitive estrangement to promote suspension of disbelief”.
The argument using 2 Peter 3:8 “A day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” does not apply as Genesis was very precise, as to “literal day” as in, “And the evening and the morning were the first day”(Gen 1:5).
Could this controversy be resolved by re-analyzing popular concept of Gen 1:1 and 1:2?
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was(hayah) without form (tohuw), and void(bohuw); and darkness(choshek) was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”(mayim).
Common teaching of these 2 verses was that from “tohuw and bohuw”, heavens and earth were created. Meaning that God started “creating from and with” tohuw and bohuw” already existing. Really? Meaning, God did not create “from nothing”?
This concept does not harmonize with this fact: “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see “did not” come from anything that can be seen”(Heb 11:3 NLT).
Yes, the Creator Logos can easily say the “word” and things were created. The truth is, He did not need anything to create something. Meaning, that the Creator did not start with “bohuw and tohuw”, not with “choshek” that described something already existing prior to creation.
Also, notice from creation, it started with “good”, not with chaos or destruction. Instead, I Tim 4:4 “For everything God created (or started) is good,…,”
Going through my “memory bank”, there was nothing created that was “originally bad”. But, from the literal “first day through…”, celestial bodies (heavenly) like sun, moon, stars and earth were taught to have started from “waste, ruin, wicked or destruction”. Yet with living things, like plants, animals and man they started and declared from creation as “very good”(mod towb).
Going back to the original Hebrew, and getting the context of Gen 1:1 & 1:2, we can have English translation of “hayah” as “has become”;”tohuw” as “lie wasted”; “bohuw” as “undistinguishable ruin” and “choshek” as “destruction”.
Contextually and taking translations in consideration, Gen.1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” means they were “very good” when it started “from nothing”. This could be millions of years ago as far as to human concept of time. In fact, the creation was originally “very good” that the angels who were already created, “sang together…and shouted for joy”(Job 38:7). Even Satan(bad) originally was Lucifer(good).
Then, something happened between verses 1 & 2, that resulted in Gen 1:2 “And the earth has become (hayah) wasted (tohuw), and indistinguishable ruin(bohuw); and destruction(choshek) was upon the face of the deep”. Because of celestial upheaval, the sun, moon, stars and earth that were already created “good” became “ruin, chaotic” and “darkness” prevailed. After that “destruction”, was “cleansing” in v-2 that started on the literal “first day” as in “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters(mayim or waste)”. The Spirit of God “cleanse the waste”. The living things like plants, animals, humans were actually created on “literal” “sunset-to-sunset” days, as “very good”.
This pattern of creation was also shown in the creation of man as originally “very good”, then because of sin became “marred clay” which was “re-conformed” by the Potter (Jer.18:4; Heb 2:6; Ps.8:4) into the “likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) to bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10).
Hopefully with this concept, the “old earth and new earth” controversy maybe put to rest.