Question for Dr. Saleska:
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This implies at least two heavens – the vast empty heaven surrounding planet earth, and God’s heavenly realm. Planet earth was without form or void. Were these created only 6000 years ago? Most likely they were created at a time when there was no time. But 6000 years ago, God separated the sea from the dry land and formed the mountains, hills, deserts, lakes, rivers, etc. on earth. Is earth only 6000 years old?
Dr. Saleska’s Response:
The Hebrew word (shamayim – heaven, heavens) is a plural noun, but is sometimes translated in the singular. The King James Bible, for instance, uses the singular “heaven” in Genesis: 1:1, but most of the other translations use the plural “heavens.” The idea, however, is not that there are two or more heavens, but rather what we sometimes refer to as “space” or “sky;” the “material universe” aside from planet earth. We often refer to the sky above as “the heavens.” Psalm 19:1 puts it this way: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”
“God’s heavenly realm” is perhaps best understood as the “Place” where God is. Heaven and God are often associated. To be in the presence of God is to be in heaven. The Psalmist says: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” (Ps. 90:1) This is the “place” where Christ who has prepared a “place for us dwells.” He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. When we pray: “Our Father who art in heaven” we need to remember that this is our Father’s house. It is where He lives. “Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven...” We are all prodigals returning home – to our Fathers house, where everything has been prepared for us by our Lord, and it’s free!
“Is earth only 6000 years old?” The Bible does not give the exact age of the earth. Archbishop James Ussher in the mid 1600’s did an extensive study of the genealogies in the Old Testament and arrived at the date 4004 B.C. for the creation of the world. You will find his dates placed in the margins of some Bibles. From his calculations some biblical scholars have indicated that they believe the world to be approximately 6000 years old. It is not a good idea to insist on the 4004 B.C. date; however, since the precise time when God spoke the world into existence is not given. The secular world scoffs at the “young earth” idea because of their evolutionistic pre-suppositions. They insist it would have taken millions of years to produce the effects we see in the universe. They are unwilling to even consider studying those “effects” from any other point of view; for instance, a creationistic point of view. As the Psalmist says: “God is not in all their thoughts.” It is clear that this is a “young earth,” but the exact date we don’t know.