Is the first earth age concept biblical? What is the idea of the first earth age?
The concept of a first earth age, rooted in gap theory and based on some contortions of language, is not biblical.
First earth age refers to the idea that people existed before Genesis 1 as pre-human souls. Thousands or millions of years ago, God created earth, but it was corrupted by the fall of Satan, they say. Those beings, or souls, who decided to stay loyal to God became the "elect" and were promised eternal life. This is based on Genesis 1:1, Jeremiah 4:18, and 2 Peter 3, and reminds some of the Mormon idea of spirit babies.
Belief in a first earth age is not prevalent. It seems most references to the erroneous idea stem from the Shepherd's Chapel, whose leader Arnold Murray has been identified by many scholars and theologians as in error about many of his doctrines and teachings such as the serpent seed doctrine and beliefs that some identify as anti-Semitic. These associations do not disqualify the first earth age concept prima facie, but they do raise red flags to proceed with caution and scrutiny.
First earth age ideas are not supported by the Bible. The biblical text never directly supports the first earth age concept. When pressed, proponents often cite special understanding of specific Hebrew and Greek words. Scholarly understanding of those languages do not support such translation.
The primary belief that people existed first as spiritual beings, then physical, contradicts passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:42–47: "So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven."
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