The controversy regarding whether the earth is young or old centers around the meaning of the first two verses of the Bible. We know that Adam and Eve were made about 6,000 years ago. The Bible record, however, is silent regarding exactly how old is the earth. Some believe the world was created only a few days before Adam and Eve.
Science, on the other hand, declares that the earth is many millions, and in some cases billions, of light years away from various stellar objects. These vast distances tell us that it has to be relatively old, as 6,000 years is not enough time for heavenly objects to have moved billions of light years away from the planet.
We can logically conclude, based on a detailed look at Genesis, that our planet is quite old. A closer look at the original language behind Genesis 1:2 reveals a small translation error that has made understanding the planet's relative age difficult. The verse states, "The earth was without form . . ." The Hebrew word for 'was' is hayah, Strong's Concordance #H1961. It is defined as a verb that means "to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass."
Based on its use in other verses (Genesis 3:20, 4:2, 20), however, a more accurate translation of hayah in Genesis 1:2 would render the verse "The earth BECAME without form, and void . . ." This leads us to include that, indeed, the earth itself is quite old.
What does Genesis 1:2 mean when it states our world became "without form, and void"? The Hebrew word for "form" is tohu (Strong's #H8414) and "void" is bohu (Strong's #H922). Tohu is defined as formless, confusion, empty, or a wasteland. Bohu means an indistinguishable ruin or emptiness. This information means that the earth, after it was initially created (Genesis 1:1) became an empty and indistinguishable ruin. What, however, could have caused something created by the hand of God to turn into a wasteland?
Lucifer and all the angels are quite old, as they were created long before mankind. When God first made the earth all the angels sung with joy (Job 38:4 - 7). Something, however, happened to Lucifer. He began to corrupt his own thinking and believe that he should run the universe. His vanity and sin ultimately caused him to be rejected (see Ezekiel 28:12 - 19, Luke 10:18, Isaiah 14:12 - 16).
The devil's attempt to storm heaven, with an angelic army (Revelation 12:3 - 4) in order to take control of the universe, brought destruction and chaos to the earth and everything in the universe.
God does not make anything that is chaotic or a wasteland. What occurred between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2 is the rebellion of Lucifer and the destruction it brought. Although verses 1 and 2 follow each other in the Bible, they do not represent an unbroken stream of time. Verse 2 of Genesis 1 reveals that the earth needed to be recreated, leading to the conclusion that our planet's age in more old than it is young.
Evidence from Scripture, therefore, indicates that in the distant past the Eternal created the heavens and all that is in them (Genesis 1:1). This would include the sun, moon, stars, and so on. Sometime after its initial creation Lucifer tried to take over God's throne by force. The battle and chaos that ensued wrecked the planet. In order to clean up the mess Lucifer caused, our Creator had to recreate and refashion the world in preparation for man during what is referred to as creation week (Genesis 1:2 - 25).
Unfortunately, the gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2 is unknown. Given modern scientific findings regarding the universe, however, it is safe to say that the earth is indeed quite old.