This possibility is often called the "Day-Age Theory." A common criticism of the day-age theory is that the order of days/ages does not match up with evolutionary theory. The answer to this criticism is that if Genesis 2:18-20 is apparently free to change the order of creation for animals and man from Genesis 1:24-27, why should we conclude that the order of creation days is strictly sequential and non-overlapping? If I were permitted to change the Bible (and I'm not), the only switch I would make would be to swap days 3 and 4. The Biblical order matches up well enough for me. One suggestion for the sun and moon appearing late in the sequence (from physicist and Christian Pastor Carl Johnson at A Christ Walk Church in Kingsbury, Indiana) is that the early atmosphere was very cloudy, much like the planet Venus is today.
Instances of an utter inability to distinguish between
two articulate sounds are, however, of rare occurrence,
and they are but seldom found in languages
which have received a high amount of literary cultivation.
What I am speaking of here is not merely
change of consonants, one consonant being preferred
in one, another in another dialect, or one being fixed
in one noun, another in another. This is a subject we
shall have to consider presently. What I wished to
point out is more than that; it is a confusion between
two consonants in one and the same language, in one
and the same word. I can only explain it by comparing
it to that kind of colour-blindness when people
are unable to distinguish between blue and red, a
colour-blindness quite distinct from that which makes
blue to seem red, or yellow green. It frequently
happens that individuals are unable to pronounce
certain letters. Many persons cannot pronounce the
, and say or even instead; and instead
of and ; instead of .
Others change to , instead of ; others
change to , instead of . Children, too,
for some time substitute dentals for gutturals, speaking
of instead of , instead of . It is
difficult to say whether their tongue is more at fault
or their ear. In these cases, however, a real substitution
takes place; we who are listening hear one
letter instead of another, but we do not hear as it were
two letters at once, or something between the two.
The only analogy to this remarkable imperfection
peculiar to uncultivated dialects may be discovered in
languages where, as in Modern German, the soft and
hard consonants become almost, if not entirely, undistinguishable.
But there is still a great difference
between actually confounding the places of contact as
the Hawaians do in and , and merely confounding
the different efforts with which consonants, belonging
to the same organic class, ought to be uttered, a defect
very common in some parts of Germany and elsewhere.
Nevertheless, we can glean some details. The phrases "one man" and "the first man" support the idea that Paul is speaking about an individual, not all mankind. However, he has already left out Eve in these passages even though she played a crucial part in the sin. This omission is further indication to us that any historical details here are incidental to Paul's main message.
Although Paul testifies to Adam in these verses, he does not state that Adam was created in 4004 BC, that he lived in what is now southeastern Iraq along the Shatt al Arab waterway, or any of the other scientific or geographical details that we're arguing about. Paul has much more important things in mind than that! He is taking great pains to point to Jesus Christ the Savior. For those who are wondering how one man's death can save all the nations of the world, Paul is noting that it was one man's sin in the first place that caused all the trouble. The emphasis on "one man" is intended to point to Christ, not provide us with further details about the creation account.
In the movie, the setting takes place on earth in the future where apes deny and are afraid of the past, whereas the setting in the book is on a different planet where apes are civilized and technologically advanced, and the humans were primitive creatures.
At the end of the Book of Job God appears out of a whirlwind and demands his answers to a series of questions. In 38: 18 God asks, "Do you know the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know!" Of course Job cannot answer this or any of the other questions, and he is humbled before God's greatness and majesty.
I have been advised to put aside all the arguments and science, and to read Genesis and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling me. When I read the first chapters of Genesis in this manner, I have peace. I am confident that God has created me and all that exists. I know that mankind is at the very center of God's love. I know that God Almighty is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. I realize that we have all sinned, and that only Jesus Christ can redeem us. I am confident that nothing under heaven or on earth can ever separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:36-39)!
But I could have offered him something so much better! You can have God! You can have good science, too! You don't have to go against your conscience, and deny those facts that you firmly believe are true. You don't have to bear false witness about the age of the earth. God is much bigger than that! You will have plenty of Christian company in your beliefs, too. In the words of Billy Graham, "Everything that is true, good, and uplifting - these things you can keep when you become a Christian. You will put away all that is false, bad, and hurtful; but the good things you can keep." The atheist needs God, and wants God in his life. This man can be saved!
I saw a videotape of creationist Gary Parker. He related a story of a debate where his opponent was an atheist who believed in evolution. Mr. Parker was cordial and respectful toward his opponent, but thought that the man felt sad. The atheist stated that he would like to believe in a loving God who cares for him personally. He would like to believe that there is a divine purpose to life, that there is more than just struggling for survival and dying. But he could not believe such things, because what he observed in the earth (geology, fossils) was telling him otherwise.
It is not correct that the working out of God's plan here on earth must be smooth, linear, and predictable. The apparently chaotic path of evolution matches the history of Israel better than a smooth straight path! And that's a good thing, because the history of Israel is our story. It's your story, and it's my story. It's my story because my faith did not hold perfectly steady from infant baptism until now. Perhaps the story of evolution can be viewed as a cautionary tale, but a tale with hope for us all. God can work through the jumbled mess of human history. He can work through the jumbled mess of natural history, too.
Gould and Wise also seem to concur on another related point: that the haphazard evolutionary path that eventually led to Homo sapiens is unlike what an would plan. Would God use such a scattershot approach, full of dead ends and lengthy historical detours, to bring forth the crowning glory of his creation? We would prefer to see a smoother path of development. As a software developer, I certainly would!
Statistical studies are worthwhile. We need them as tools to evaluate competing theories. I am happier when the probabilistic analysis matches up with what we observe in nature. But it is important to remember that God Almighty transcends probabilities. His ways are not our ways, and they defy analysis. God brought us forth to rule this planet earth because He willed it. The Bible says so.