I had a lengthy one with my pastor the other day about this Old Earth - Young Earth issue. I think we need to do a few things -

1). Understand that while we need to talk about this, we don't want to divide ourselves about minutia. In another church I went to a few years ago there was a huge rift about pre-tibulation and post-tribulation rapture for example. Not good. Remember the real earthly enemy is not a brother believer.

2). The point to remember is this. John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Everything else, as interesting as it may be, is minutia.

3). It is not constructive to say another's belief in end times prophesies to be "tin foil" stuff. We may disagree, but if one reads Revelations, we are probably closer than you think.

OK....now having said that I will continue.

I believe in an old earth. I do not believe the earth is only 6000 years old. The problem with literalism is that one needs to read in context, and several times, to see what is illustrative and what is literal.

The english language is truly a caveman language slightly above grunts and groans when compared to Hebrew or Greek. How an ancient people could have had such a developed language is fascinating. We have only one word for "love" for example. The Greeks had, what...ten? So any translation into english is going to miss some of the "flavor" of the original language.

Consider the comparison of teaching a 10 year old about the mechanics of how a motor vehicle works. You would not get into metallurgy, or the mechanics of combustion. Neither would you delve into the manner in which the gasoline is burned nor about gears. You would tell him that gas goes in this hole, and the machine makes the car go if they push down on a pedal. I just recently taught my junior staff to drive, and that is the sort of discussion we had. Anything else would have been wasted.

Consider too that the education of a ten year old in 2008 America is far more along than that of a shepherd in 1000 B.C. To try to explain "the how" would be a waste of time. Some need only the IS and the WHY.

Another issue is the use of "phrases" and "jargon". For example today we might say, "I am so hungry, I could eat a horse". Isn't this similar in context to David's comments here -

Psalm 6:6 "I am weary in my groaning; all the night I make my bed swim; I melt my couch with my tears."

To take this literally is foolish and out of context isn't it? How about this one?

Revelations 9:7 "And the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle. And on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men".

How would a First Century man have described a combat helicopter? Then again, I could be totally wrong, and they could in fact be giant locusts. Either way, the contextual message of the section, and of the Bible is not changed is it?

But on to the concept of "DAY"

The 24 hour day was not widely instituted until the advent of mechanical clocks. The concept of "hours" began with the Sumerians, but hours did not have a fixed length until the Greeks decided they needed such a system for theoretical calculations.

Hipparchus proposed dividing the day equally into 24 hours which came to be known as equinoctial hours (because they are based on 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness on the days of the Equinoxes). Ordinary people continued to use seasonally varying hours for a long time. Only with the advent of mechanical clocks in Europe in the 14th Century, did the system we use today become common place.

Some references to time - one from the OT and one from the NT

Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in Your sight are as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

So must science be at odds with God? I say it does not. But I aslo say that for a 21st century man, with the availability of knowledge we have today, to sneer at the four thousand year old works of a man trying to write down things that God showed him, in a way he can understand, is the height of arrogance. Science should help us to better understand God's Creation, not seek to challenge it.

A point of fact on many scientific theories. They are taken on faith just as we take the Word on faith. No one was there for the Big Bang, nor for the Creation of the earth, so whose word do we take? And to muddy it up even more...what if God's chosen method was a big explosion?

Did God create the world in six 24 hour periods, or in six different periods of time? I think that last one fits into the category of minutia. We can ask Him when we see Him. I also plan to ask Him why he loved the sissy-man Jacob more than the he-man Esau.