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Progressive creationism

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Progressive creationism, also known as day-age creationism, holds that the account of Genesis is true, but argue that the Creation "days" were not 24-hour days. Instead it is believed they lasted for long periods of time—or as the theory's name implies: the "days" each lasted an age. According to this view, the sequence and duration of the Creation "days" is representative or symbolic of the sequence and duration of events that scientists theorize to have happened, such that Genesis can be read as a summary of modern science, simplified for the benefit of pre-scientific humans.

Some Day-Age creationists suggest that the very brief account of creation in Genesis was not intended as exhaustive, but rather a succinct summary of ancient knowledge in the Levant. Many argue that the Creation narrative is brief because it serves as an introduction linking the rise of the Judaic ethnos to the dawn of time. Thus, to ascribe any specific and definitive interpretation is beyond the scope and intent of the passages in Genesis and is by nature subjective and controversial. Moreover, to require that faith in God be contingent on any one interpretation of creation is to limit a believer's faith to earthly and not spiritual matters.

Main Beliefs

Name Opinion on Age of Earth Opinion on Origin of Life Opinion on Genesis
Progressive creationism The Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old. The universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. Radiometric dating is an accurate means of determining the age of the Earth. God created life on Earth slowly and gradually, over millions and billions of years, either by means of evolution or by waiting millions of years between acts of creation. The days of creation in Genesis represent long periods of time, not literal 24-hour days. To support this, 2_Peter 3:8 is often cited. Young-earth creationists, however, maintain that this is a misquotation, and that the verse is intended as an expression of the timelessness of God, not as a guideline to interpret the 'days' of Genesis (or the 'days' of any other part of the Bible, for that matter).

Days of Creation

Progressive creationists hold the belief that the 6 days of creation in Genesis 1 occurred over vast ages of time. The word 'yom' means 'day' in Hebrew. But since it doesn't always have a specific 24-hr limit, progressive creationists believe they can take a non-literal meaning of 'yom' in Genesis 1.

Flood was Local

Progressive Creationists believe that the flood of Noah was only a local event because the population of the earth was so sparse that it was not expanded over the entire globe. Instead, they claim upon that theory that it simply would not be necessary to wipe out the entire earth if there was no civilization around the globe.

Dr. Ross professes in the following statement that because of the fact that humans were not inhabited throughout the world, that it would not be necessary for God to destroy that portion of the earth.

Dr. Ross: "But here are some reasons why, physical reasons why, the flood cannot be global. Number one is the limited extent of sin. Given that human beings had not yet civilized and inhabited Antarctica, there'd be no need for God to flood Antarctica because there'd be no sin there in Antarctica." [1]

Billions of Years

Dr. Ross:

"It only works in a cosmos of a hundred-billion trillion stars that’s precisely sixteen-billion-years old. This is the narrow window of time in which life is possible.

"Therefore it allows me to make an interesting paraphrase of John 3:16, if you’ll permit—For God so loved the human race that he went to the expense of building a hundred-billion trillion-stars and carefully shaped and crafted them for sixteen-billion years so that at this brief moment in time we could all have a nice place to live." (Dallas Theological Seminary Chapel Service, September 13, 1996). [1]

Pre-Adam Humans

Progressive Creationists believe that there is no way around death, disease, and blood-shed before Adam & Eve committed the original sin. Even in the most stable and fool-proof environment, there would be ways to be scratched and poked.

In addition, progressive creationists believe that it is never specified that there was no meat to be eaten—they were given grass and vegetation, but it never ruled out meat. Therefore, there were predators and prey.

Dr. Ross:

"Starting about 2 to 4 million years ago, God began creating man-like mammals or ‘hominids.’ These creatures stood on two feet, had large brains, and used tools. Some even buried their dead and painted on cave walls.

"However, they were different from us. They did not worship God or establish religious practices. In time, all these man-like creatures went extinct. Then, about 10 to 25 thousand years ago, God replaced them with Adam and Eve." (Reasons To Believe Web Site, updated July 8, 1997) [1]


Main Article: Arguments against progressive creationism

There are problems to be addressed with each of the main beliefs of Progressive Creationism. For example:

  • By stating that there was a morning and an evening in Genesis 1, the author was trying make it crystal clear that the days of creation were literal 24 hour days. Specifically in Genesis 1:14 God describes day and night, days and years in context and contrast, clearly calling out their differences.
  • Regarding the local flood interpretation, if we are looking at the original Hebrew text, the word kol is used, which translates to mean all/every. The word mabbul is used for flood, unique in all of Scripture and separate from a local flood. God promised He would never flood the Earth again in this way (Genesis 9:12–17), yet many local floods have happened since that time. Thus, it must have been a global flood that occurred.
  • Assuming the creation timeline is bound by measurements of light speed is to put limits on God's abilities. It also presumes that the nature of light is fully understood (a presupposition) and that light speed is constant (an Einstein stipulation never proven).
  • We see in Genesis 9:3 that God specifies that in that point in time, He gave them "permission" to eat more than just grass.
  • Humans were created at the Beginning, not years and years later after hominids had roamed the earth. In Mark 10:6 , Jesus said "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'
  • Progressive Creationists typically speak and think in terms of strong skepticism about the Bible's authority especially as it concerns the accuracy of the Genesis account. In Hugh Ross' own re-factoring of John 3:16, he clearly believes that the Earth and Cosmos were formed for mankind. The Bible claims throughout, however that the Earth and Cosmos were formed for the glory of Jesus Christ. It is therefore instructive that Ross centered on John 3:16 as the focus of his comment.
  • Progressive Creationists believe that Time is sovereign over God, not God sovereign over time. They believe that time is a primordial quantity that God and everything else is subject to, and that God "progresses" on the same timeline as the rest of creation, much like boats floating in a river. PC's may give God credit for being able to "see downriver" better than the rest of us, but they say that He is bound to the river nevertheless. This directly subordinates God's sovereignty and denies that God created time. It also denies God's full omnipresence, in that God is "every-where" and also "every-when", relegating God to simply "every-where".


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ham, Ken. "What's wrong with progressive creation?" Answers in Genesis, n.d. Accessed August 11, 2008.

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