I was thinking about creation, and the first two verses of Genesis chapter one, and the old earth vs young earth camps of what peoiple call creationism. Frankly I don't like the term, "creationism." It reduces the concept to a mere belief, or doctrine. I consider creation a fact, so I normally just refer to it as that -- creation. I don't so much mind being called a creationist, but I don't like refering to what I believe as "creationism." That's just me. And frankly, I don't take a particularly strong position on young vs old creation. Creation, as I said, is a fact. Young or old? Those are beliefs.
But here is what I was thinking.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
When did God create the heavens and the earth? Why, in the beginning, of course. When was the beginning? Well, the Bible doesn't say. It could have been a few thousand years ago, as some believe, or it could have been billions. We are just not told.
But create it He did. At some point in the past, God said, "Let there be stuff!" And there it was... stuff! All made up of atoms and molecules that weren't there the instant before He spoke. If you'd have been there, you would have looked around in amazement and said, "Where did all this stuff come from?" And God would have said, "Me!" Or in Quebec He would have said, "Moi!" (Because I think God is at least bilingual, probably multilingual. Or really, if you get right down to it, He would be omnilingual, if that is a word. Just another omni to describe Him.)
OK, so then, at some point, the earth (we're talking about the earth here, not the rest of the universe) was formless and empty. When was that? Well, again, we don't know. We're not told. All we can assume is that it was some time after the beginning, and some time after it was created. And for what length of time after the beginning was the earth formless and empty? Again, don't know. Seems to me it could have been minutes, could've be eons.
But I'm looking at this from an evangelistic point of view. There are certain things that are in-house discussions. That is, certain discussions, certain subjects, need not be raised in the context of introducing new people to our Christian faith. We need not jump too quickly to defend our personal positions in these matters, no matter how strongly we hold them. One of these subjects,. for instance (and I am in agreement in this with J.I. Packer), is the details of 5- or 6-point Calvinism. Another, I think, is this matter of old vs young earth creation. The bottom line is that whether we believe creation occurred thousands or billions of years ago is, especially from an evangelistic point of view, a secondary matter. It is a discussion that can just confuse, or even turn off, someone who is taking the first steps toward an investigation of Christianity.
The important thing is that they first meet Christ, and it is doubly important that we don't stand in the way of that. They can develope their own opinions on secondary matters later.