The actual age of the earth according to Young Earth Creationists actually varies quite a bit
. 6000 years is not a point of doctrine, just one of many attempts at calculating the age from scriptural sources.
That said, while I reject Young Earth Creationism as completely at odds with the available evidence, I have to agree with the president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, on one issue. When the Bible says that the world was created in six days, there is no reason to doubt that it means six literal days. The original Hebrew word used in Genesis, "yom," can mean a twenty four hour day, a period of light, an unspecified period of time, a particular point in time, or a year, with the meaning determined by context. However, the use of the word "yom" with a number, as in Genesis 1, occurs hundreds of times in the Bible, and in every other instance, it refers clearly to a 24 hour period, and there's no reason to suppose that Genesis 1 was supposed to be an exception, particularly when God sanctifies the clearly literal seventh day of the week as a day of rest because he rested on the seventh day after making the world in six.
It makes practically no sense to interpret the order of the days of creation as a metaphor, because there's nothing it's a useful metaphor for
. It doesn't bring people closer to understanding how the actual process by which the world or the universe formed, the order isn't even close
to being right (interpreting "Let there be light" as the Big Bang seems like a good start if you don't take notice of the fact that this is the only
day in the sequence which doesn't list something happening out of the correct order, and that's if you ignore the fact that it attests that day and night were created on the first day, before the sun.) Plus, there's nothing in the context of Genesis to suggest that the narrative is intended metaphorically, whereas some passages in the bible are clearly indicated by context as metaphor.
And if anyone asks how there could be "days" before the sun existed, the answer is because they were twenty four hours long. Just because it's not true-to-reality doesn't mean that the text is meant to convey anything other than the most obvious interpretation.
edited 21st May '12 8:57:24 PM by Desertopa
...eventually, we will reach a maximum entropy state where nobody has their own socks or underwear, or knows who to ask to get them back.