What is Progressive Creationism?

Question
What is Progressive Creationism?
Answer

Progressive Creationism (PC - aka "process creation") is a Creation view that affirms that God created the universe over billions of years. While they assert numerous things, two are sufficient to reveal their error:

(1) Belief in the "Big Bang" (BB) theory (all space, time and energy came into existence together in one mass appearance that began an evolutionary process). BB was God's way of producing the galaxies through billions of years of natural processes.

(2) That the Days (Hebrew, yom) of Creation are overlapping periods of billions of years.

While PC claims to oppose both atheistic evolutionism and Young Earth Creationism (see below), their errors are similar to many of the other errors seen in Old Earth Creationism (see below).

Moses uses the Hebrew term yom for Day in Genesis 1. While yom in some contexts, can mean long periods of time, the context determines the meaning. Moreover, if the Holy Spirit desired to state that Creation was over a longer period of time then six (6) 24-hour Days, he could have had Moses used numerous other Hebrew terms for better clarity, such as:

(1) qedem, meaning aforetime, ancient or old.

(2) olam, meaning long duration, antiquity, and at times even translated as perpetual.

(3) dor, meaning a period or generation.

(4) tamid, meaning continual or perpetual.

(5) ad, meaning forever or perpetual.

(6) orek, meaning forever or long.

(7) shanah, meaning years or length.

(8) netsach, meaning enduring, everlastingness, perpetuity.

Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Moses didn't describe the time in question with any other Hebrew word but yom in Genesis 1 (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). In context within Genesis 1, the Hebrew word yom means a 24-hour Day. This is supported by:

(1) Yom's Sabbath Day usage in Exodus 20:9-11 (cf. Gen. 1:1-2:3).

(2) Yom's appearance with the defining phrase, "morning and evening" (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

(3) Yom's appearance with the time-stamp numbers (first Day, second Day, etc. in Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

(4) "It was so" indicates immediacy [1-4], not a delay of 1000s, millions, or billions of years (Gen. 1:6, 9, 11, 14, 24, 30).

(5) "And God saw" indicates immediacy (Gen. 1:4, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). God pronounced that each event in Creation was "good" (Hebrew, towb, meaning "excellent") "only after" he saw what was completed ("and it was so"). This speaks of not only his decree, but his finished work. It refers to not only the sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, sea and land life, and man himself but the finished complex systems working within other finished complex systems to support all life. He pronounced that all six days of Creation were "very good," only after "he saw everything that he had made" worked fully together as he fully created it to exist (Gen. 1:31).

(6) The fact that Genesis 1 lacks a comparative particle - "like" or "as," (implied in Psa. 90:4 and literally stated by Peter - twice - in 2 Pet. 3:8). This infers that Day in Genesis 1 means a literal 24-hour Day.

(7) The first use of yom (Gen. 1:4-5) literally refers to the daily light/dark cycle of Day and Night.

With all these limiting words and phrases restricting the context of Genesis 1 ("day(s)," 11 times; "it was so," 6 times; "And God saw," 7 times; "good" 7 times; "very good," 1 time; and the time-stamp numbers used 6 times), the "preponderance of the evidence" (meaning that it was more likely than not that something occurred in a certain way), seems to limit the usage of yom to an ordinary 24-hour day. I don't see how God could have been any clearer!

Please see, "What is Old Earth Creationism (OEC)?" and "What is Theistic Evolution?" below for more arguments. Progressive Creationism ultimately ends up denying the inspiration, inerrancy, clarity, and authority of Scripture.

Footnotes

[1] Biblical Hebrew employs a rule called the "vav ha-hipuch." The preceding "v" flips the tense from past tense to future, or vice versa. Thus, the Hebrew, yehi-chen, means "it will be so" and the Hebrew, vayhi-chen means, "it was so." Gen. 1:7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30 use the Hebrew vayhi-chen meaning, "it was so."

[2] "Scripture pictures God's creative word as bringing immediate response. When the Bible talks about God's creative word it emphasizes the power of his word and its ability to accomplish his purpose." Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 277.

[3] Ross who actually affirms Progressive Creationism even states, "The text reports that it happened as decreed: "and it was so." The word "so" (ken, from kun) is much stronger than it may seem. It means that, like an established thing, the light and darkness found their fixed place in the order of creation." Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 109.

[4] "'And it was so' seems to be redundant. However, it relays an idea over and above the mere execution of the divine will. The phrase has a temporal aspect, meaning that this event has come to pass and it has been in existence and operation ever since. It also becomes stereotypical for the remainder of the days of creation." John D. Currid, A Study Commentary on Genesis: Genesis 1:1-25:18, vol. 1, EP Study Commentary (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, n.d.), 66.

Various Creation Positions

What is the Big Bang Theory?
What is the Day Age Theory?
What is Ex-Nihilo?
What is the Framework Hypothesis?
What is the Gap Theory?
What About Hebrews 11:3?
What is the Intelligent Design Theory?
What is the Mature Universe Theory?
What is Old Earth Creationism (OEC)?
What is Theistic Evolution?
What is Young Earth Creationism (YEC)?

Related Topics

What is the meaning of Day in Genesis 1?
Are there two different accounts of Creation?
What is BioLogos?
Did man eat meat before the Fall and the Flood?
A Universal or Regional Flood?
What about the evidence of Carbon-14 dating?
What About Dinosaurs?
Scientific Evidence for YEC?
How could there be evening and morning the first three days of Creation?
Extraterrestrials and the Bible?
Can a person be born an atheist?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).