What did early Christians believe about...? (Before 300 AD)
Uninspired records of how early Christians worshipped and what doctrine they believed!
Six (24 hour) day creation VS. Evolution
Young earth creationists!
- 170-215 AD Mark Felix "Some men deny the existence of any Divine power. Others inquire daily as to whether or not one exists. Still others would construct the whole fabric of the universe by chance accidents and by random collision, fashioning it by the movement of atoms of different shapes." (M. Felix Octavius chap. 30 [Notice the term "atom" isn't a twentieth century invention, but a term coined by Greek philosophers.])
- 181 AD Theophilus of Antioch "On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it" (To Autolycus 2:15).
- 181 AD Theophilus of Antioch "All the years from the creation of the world [to Theophilus's day] amount to a total of 5,698 years and the odd months and days. . . . [I]f even a chronological error has been committed by us, for example, of 50 or 100 or even 200 years, yet [there have] not [been] the thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And perhaps our knowledge of the whole number of the years is not quite accurate, because the odd months and days are not set down in the sacred books" (To Autolycus, 3:28-29).
- 234 AD Origen "The text said that `there was evening and there was morning'; it did not say `the first day,' but said `one day.' It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days" (Homilies on Genesis).
- 234 AD Origen "And since he [the pagan Celsus] makes the statements about the `days of creation' ground of accusation--as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, the sun and moon and stars, and some of them after the creation of these we shall only make this observation, that Moses must have forgotten that he had said a little before `that in six days the creation of the world had been finished' and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: `This is the book of the creation of man in the day when God made the heaven and the earth [Gen. 2:4]'" (Against Celsus 6:51).
- 234 AD Origen "And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world" (ibid., 6:60).
- 260-330 AD Lactantius "Some people teach that the first men lived nomadic lives among the woods and plains. They were not united by any bond of speech or laws. Instead, they lived in caves and grottos, using leaves and grass for their beds. They were prey to the beasts and stronger animals. Eventually, those who had escaped, having been torn [by wild beasts] ... sought out the company of other men for protection. At first they communicated to each other by nods; then they tried elementary forms of speech. By attaching names to various objects, they little by little developed a system of speech." (Lactantius Institutes bk. 6, chap. 10)
- 370 AD Basil The Great "`And there was evening and morning, one day.' Why did he say `one' and not `first'? . . . He said `one' because he was defining the measure of day and night . . . since twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day" ().
- 370 AD Ambrose of Milan "Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent. . . . The nights in this reckoning are considered to be component parts ofthe days that are counted. Therefore, just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. There are many who call even a week one day, because it returns to itself, just as one day does, and one might say seven times revolves back on itself. Hence, Scripture appeals at times of an age of the world" (The Six Days Work 1:1-2).
- 408 AD Augustine "With the Scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the Scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation" (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, 2:9).
- 408 AD Augustine "Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them" (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, 4:27).
- AD Augustine "They [pagans] are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of [man as] many thousands of years, though reckoning by the sacred writings we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed" (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis, 12:10).
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