Old-Earth creationists accept scientific proof that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years. There are a variety of ways in which old-Earthers reconcile this timeframe with the accounts of the Bible.
Gap Creationism holds that there is a huge, unmentioned temporal gap between some two events of the Bible. There are several hypotheses about where this gap might be. A couple of possibilities are:
- Between the first sentence and the second sentence of Genesis This means that after Genesis 1:1, which states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," millions or billions of years pass. During this period, some catastrophic event sends Earth into decay. Then Genesis 1:2 occurs: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." At this point, the six days of creation -- or in this case, re-creation -- begin.
- Between the seventh day of creation (the day of rest) and when Adam eats the apple, causing the Fall of Man This means that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for millions or billions of years before the Fall.
Day-age creationism addresses the time problem from a different angle. This explanation states that since God did not create the sun and moon until the fourth day of creation, the concept of the 24-hour day did not exist when creation began and when the word "day" was first used. Therefore, a "creation day" can be any period of time. Day-age creationists view each "day" of creation as a period of millions or billions of years, accounting for the scientifically determined age of the Earth within the framework of the Bible.
Progressive creationism is the most common form of creationism in the United States today. This type of creationist accepts some aspects of evolution -- for instance, he believes that microevolution (evolution within a species) can occur under the direct guidance of God. However, he rejects macroevolution (evolution between species) and the theory of natural selection. A progressive creationist believes that God created each type of organism out of nothing.
Young-Earthers and old-Earthers comprise the majority of Christian creationism in the United States, with flat-Earthers and geocentrists making up only a very small percentage of creationists. Some tenets of creationism are not at all compatible with the findings of modern science, while others allow for a reinterpretation of the Bible in view of what some perceive as scientific proof. But in the end, creationism and evolutionism are aspects of personal belief systems that seem to have little to do with politics. And until recently, the debate between the two had receded almost entirely from the public forum. So what happened to bring it back?