Seeking Answers to Key Questions of Anthropology in an Older Earth View of Genesis 1–3

Beginning in Genesis 1—3, understood historically from an older earth viewpoint, the Bible answers key questions of biblical anthropology: How did humans begin? Why is there good and evil? What is our purpose? What is my future?
Grammatically, Genesis 1—3 is historical narrative reporting sequential historical events: God “created the heavens and the earth” “in the beginning,” allowing an older universe and earth. But the earth was uninhabitable, uninhabited, dark, and sea covered. At God’s command, sunlight penetrated the cloud starting day one on rotating planet earth. The Hebrew ordinal numbers of the days (“a second day” through “the sixth day”) indicate sequential days for a Biblically undated (allowing an older) earth and life. In those six sequential days, God would make earth lighted, habitable, and inhabited, culminating in humans in His image.
Even before God made the earth, He stated His purpose, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion” (Gen. 1:26).
The world that sinless Adam entered was good yet imperfect. “And God saw all that He had done ( אֲשֶׁ֣ר “do, make”) and behold, it was very good.” So all God did was very good. But Satan “was sinning from the beginning” and “has the power of death.” God allowed Satan to add evil “from the beginning” before Adam also sinned and started all human death.
God’s purpose for Adam and Eve included subduing the earth and ruling its animals. God’s mandate to them was “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue ( כִבְשֻׁ֑הָ) it” (Gen. 1:28). Earth had the “very good” works God made yet also wrongdoings by Satan resulting in an imperfect world. Adam and Eve were to reject wrong and subdue evil. They failed, and the consequences are appalling. As a result, we are “dead in the trespasses and sins,” “alienated from God,” and bound for “the judgment to come.” The Fall was not only a judicial violation of God’s law, requiring the death penalty, but also the failure of Adam and Eve to carry out their God-given mandate.
The Lord Jesus, our Creator, is in the image of God the Father (Col. 1:15). We are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10).
The future Millennium will be an ἀποκατάστασις, a restoration (Acts 3:21). God will restore the peaceful conditions of the sixth described day when God ended carnivorism by giving vegetation to animals for food (Gen. 1:30). Our purpose from our beginning was to be in God’s image in this imperfect world. God always accomplishes His purpose.
In the New Creation, we will again be fully in the image of God. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

3 thoughts on “Seeking Answers to Key Questions of Anthropology in an Older Earth View of Genesis 1–3”

Leave a Comment