When and how did God create the world? How long did He take? At a 3-day conference organized by the Fixed Point Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama, June 15–18, 2011, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. John Lennox, Dr. Hugh Ross and I debated the questions of origins. Dr. Behe defended theistic evolution. Dr. Lennox argued for a gap of millions of years between the first two verses of Genesis 1 and then gaps of indefinitely long ages (millions of years) between each of the literal days of creation.2 Dr. Ross advocated the day-age view of Genesis 1.
The Day-age View
As I heard Dr. Ross explain in this debate (which is consistent with his previous teachings over the years), his belief about Genesis 1 regarding the origin of the earth, sun, moon, and stars can be summarized as follows.
In the beginning God created the heavens by first creating the “cosmic egg” (the small and incredibly dense ball of matter, energy, and space) and then caused it to begin to expand (which, he said, occurred in Genesis 1:1). For the next 9.2 billion years the universe expanded and stars and galaxies gradually formed by physical and chemical processes as cosmic gas clouds collapsed due to gravity. Our sun formed about 8.7 billion years after the big bang (or about 5 billion years ago).
For the first 7 billion years of history, the expansion of the universe was initially very fast and gradually slowed down due to gravity and then it started to expand more rapidly due to dark matter and dark energy (and the expansion has continued to accelerate over the past 7 billion years).
The solar gas cloud around the sun evolved over millions of years to form rings and eventually evolved into planets. In this way the earth was formed about 9.2 billion after the big bang (about 4.5 billion years ago)5 and was covered in such thick clouds of an opaque atmosphere that absolutely no light could reach the surface of the earth, and hence darkness was on the surface of the earth (which, he said, is described in Genesis 1:2).