The popular scientific approach to the origin of the universe is naturalistic evolution. The basic assumption is that the world, as we know it, is an advanced development of a process that began billions, trillions, or even more years ago. The concept is that everything began from small, microscopic atoms mutating into more advanced structures, out of which the universe eventually was formed through the Big Bang.
The doctrine of creation is the evangelical answer to the beginnings of man and the universe. The basic concept is that God created the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. There are, however, tensions between creationism and science, especially in the arena of the age of the cosmos. There are five primary theories which attempt to harmonize this tension.
The first theory is the gap theory, which holds that there was an extended gap of time between God’s creation of the earth and the universe and the six days of creation listed in Genesis. The second theory is the flood theory, which holds that the force of the great flood in the days of Noah accomplished what would naturally take billions of years. The third theory is the ideal-time theory, which states that God created the world in six literal days, but he created it in an aged fashion. That is, he created it as if it were billions of years old. The fourth theory is the age-day theory, which holds that the word “days” in Genesis does not refer to literal days, but an extended period of time. The fifth and final theory is the pictorial-day theory, which holds that the days described in Genesis are a logical structuring, not a chronological one.