Christians would unanimously agree that the heavens, the universe and everything that dwells in it was created by God from nothing. However, there are multiple interpretations of what that creation process looked like.
It is highly unlikely that we will ever possess definitive evidence to answer this question, so it is quite natural that interpretations differ on creation. At this time we will offer three common (but simplified) interpretations of the creation account to give you a broad understanding of the topic.
Our primary focus at this point is not to debate these positions, but rather to build the foundations that lead us directly to the Gospel. Whilst there are indeed implications to each position, we will leave it to you to research the issue further.
Before reading any further, it is extremely helpful to be familiar with the first chapter in the entire Bible: Genesis 1.
Young Earth Creationism
This is the belief that Genesis 1 is literal and everything happened exactly as written in the Scriptures, rejecting any idea of ‘theistic evolution’. Using the genealogies (a family tree, of sorts) found in the Bible and the period following Jesus’ death, young earth creationists estimate that the earth is between 6,000-10,000 years old.
Old Earth Creationism
Agreeing with mainstream scientific theories, this view asserts that the universe is billions of years old. It does not take the word “day” in Genesis 1 as literal, but rather as referring to a long period of time. However, like young earth creationism, old earth creationism does not subscribe to ‘theistic evolution’.
This is this view that God instigated the macroevolutionary process that led to humanity as it is now. The process of evolution could have been initiated and then left to its own devices by God, or he could have continually worked at his creation until it became what he intended it to be.
Microevolution refers to change within a species or group of organisms (for example, between species of dog or spiders), while macroevolution refers to the change from one species to another (for example, the change from a monkey to a human). The two other views do not generally contest the microevolutionary process, but would instead dispute the macroevolutionary process.
Just to reiterate, the purpose of this article is simply to give a brief overview of some key interpretations of the formation of the world by God. We strongly encourage you to research this topic further in your own time.