When studying the biblical doctrine of creation, we find that God pinpointed the end of the first day, and the start of the seventh day; but the Bible does not pinpoint the start of the first day, or the end of the seventh day. Thus, I believe Scripture teaches "Open-Ended Creationism."
It is important to always remember that the Superstar of the Bible is not the earth. It is God. Science is not king. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. "By Him all things were created." (Colossians 1:16) God's power goes way beyond our ability to comprehend it. And so why shouldn't the age of the earth seem beyond our reach?
We tend to assume we know everything, or can at least figure everything out. It gives us a feeling of security. It makes us feel like we are in control of our own destiny. And if we can tie up the age of the earth into a nice little bow, it makes us think that we've got the whole world in our hands.
In reality, God is the One who is in control, even when it may seem like He is allowing the world to spin out of control. He isn't. He created it all in the beginning. And He will bring it to completion one day when He ushers in "a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13) This "home" will of course be God's eternal kingdom in heaven.
Scripture provides the essentials concerning creation. After all, the Bible is God's love letter to His people. And as you study all 66 books of the Bible, you won't find a single author who completely uncovers the mystery of the earth's age. Not one. Scripture addresses far more important issues, such as the goodness of God and the plan of salvation. God's Word operates on a plane that transcends time and scientific evidence. And God has given you a soul with which to believe in supernatural creation.
Many today who believe in an old earth also believe in evolution. Personally, I find nothing in Scripture, or in science, to support macroevolution. We don't have evidence of one kind of animal changing into another kind of animal. I believe that what we do find in nature is adaptation, or microevolution.
Scripture does not advance the idea that suffering and death existed prior to man's sin in the Garden of Eden. "Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12) And so open-ended creationism provides no fodder for those who are looking for a biblical reason to believe that man evolved from apes.
But it will certainly challenge you, regardless of your current view, to dig deep into God's Word in order to discern what happened "in the beginning." Genesis gives us the big picture, while some of the details remain uncertain. None of us were there when God "stretched out the heavens." (Isaiah 45:12) And yet when we look through a telescope, it seems like we are looking into the past. A similar thing happens when we look through the lens of the Bible's first chapter. We are looking into eternity past.
As human beings, we long for the eternal. And we long to understand the relationship between "time" and eternity. The Bible explains why we experience this longing. "God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
As much as we try to wrap our mind around the reality of eternity, it still eludes us. We continue to exist in this "time" dimension, where days turn into months, and months turn into years. Meanwhile, we sense eternity in our hearts, and we long to understand what God did in the beginning to get the ball rolling.
This is a spiritual longing. And anytime we open our heart to the Word of God in order to "get it," the Holy Spirit is working to enlighten us with the truth. How else could we ever know anything about our Creator or His creation?
Perhaps you are strongly entrenched in your young-earth position, or your old-earth position. Either way, I invite you to continue digging into God's Word. Remain open. And above all, be willing to accept those believers who disagree with your interpretation on secondary matters of doctrine. The age of the earth is definitely a secondary issue. And spiritual maturity calls for us to be able to distinguish between what is essential to our faith in Christ, and what is secondary.
Some people get stuck on this issue. They act as if there is only one acceptable theory concerning the earth's age, in spite of the fact that many Christians who stand firmly on God's Word disagree with their interpretation. When a Christian gets stuck on a secondary matter of faith, he cannot seem to see the forest for the trees. And if he isn't careful, he can easily become a one-trick pony.
If the age of the earth constantly dominates your thought life and your Christian witness, then you would be wise to spend time with some believers who disagree with your theory. Get to know them. See how their understanding of the earth's age in no way compromises their commitment to Scripture. You may be shocked to learn about their vibrant life of Christian discipleship.
When all is said and done, the question of the earth's age pushes our thinking to its limits. And this challenge invites us to draw close to the One who is "the Maker of heaven and earth," (Psalm 124:8) and whose "glory is above the heavens." (Psalm 113:4)
Jesus truly is the only Superstar of creation.
(This article is taken from Dan Delzell's Kindle ebook entitled, Open-Ended Creationism.)