What’s In A Day?
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9
Hello my reader friends! Thanks for your continued support. I appreciate you!
I’m not sure what I said about how long it would take to get through the book of Acts, but I want us to stay together on the topic of restoration of New Testament Christianity. For today though, let’s talk about creation! Communication is key! We’ll talk more about restoration soon.
How long did it take God to create the earth? At a quick glance the Bible student might respond, “In six days God created the earth and everything in it, and on the seventh day He rested.” That’s what the Bible tells us in Exodus 20:11, so it’s a perfect reply.
But many people don’t take the Scripture at its Word and debate over what the meaning of the word day means. Some argue that day in the Creation account of the Bible doesn’t mean a literal 24-hour day as we know it, in order to support the idea that the earth is billions of years old.
It’s an identifying characteristic of theistic evolution. People who believe in God but also believe in evolution (the idea that the universe began as a tiny ball of matter in space that exploded and evolved into what we now have on earth) try to blend the two very different ideas of how the universe came into existence by harping on the word day in the Creation account in Genesis.
Some use 2 Peter 3:8 which says, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” to say that the days of creation were not literal 24-hour days but long periods of time and that the time between each day was a long period of time. Let’s take a look at it to see what we can glean from Scripture about how long it took God to create the earth.
- Granted, there are times in the Scripture when the word day doesn’t mean a literal 24-hour day. The Hebrew word for day is yom. And, like we use the word “day” in English in different ways, yom is used to refer to more than a 24-hour day. However, day is usually used to describe a 24-hour period of time.
- In Gen. 40:4 the plural form of yom, yammim is used to refer to a period of time that Joseph was in jail that was more than just a few 24-hour periods.
- Genesis 2:4 – “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens” – day refers to the 6 days in which God created the earth.
- 1 Thess. 5:2 refers to an indefinite period of time when it says that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.
- Day is also used to refer to a period of light or the opposite of night (Gen. 1:5).
- Recall 2 Peter 3:8. The Bible doesn’t say that a day is a thousand years to the Lord or that a thousand years is a day. The text uses a simile to say that it’s like a day. If God wanted to equate a day to some other period of time, He would have done it specifically as He did in Numbers 14:34 – “You will bear the consequences of your sins 40 years based on the number of the 40 days that you scouted the land, a year for each day. You will know My displeasure.”
- “Day” in the Creation account is modified by a numeric adjective – meaning second day, third day, etc. The Hebrew scholar James Barr has recognized this. Also, notice the following:
- “We have failed to find a single example of the use of the word ‘day’ in the entire Scripture where it means other than a period of twenty-four hours when modified by the use of the numerical adjective.” – Arthur Williams, Creation Research Annual (Ann Arbor, MI: Creation Research Society), 1965, p.10.
- Day in Genesis 1 is also modified by evening and morning. It is not likely that evening and morning referred to very long periods of time in between the two. They have the same meaning as we consider evening and morning to be today – “evening and morning were the first day (Gen. 1:5). So it must reference a 24-hour period where there is both evening and morning.
- As for Exo. 20:11 – “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it,” – the Hebrew word yammim is used for days. According to scholars, anytime yammim is used in the over 700 times it’s used in the Old Testament, it always means a literal 24-hour day when it is found in non-prophetic literature, which is what Genesis and Exodus are, non-prophetic historical narrative.¹ ²
- Lastly, the text says that God rested on the 7th day. What sense would it make if day in the text meant a long extended period of time to say that He rested on the 7th day. That would mean there would be a long extended period of time between the sixth “long extended period of time” and after that extended period of time, God rested for a long extended period of time. It’s not a logical argument. Also, God created plants on the 3rd day and the sun on the 4th day. If there were long extended periods of time between the days, like millions of years, then how would the plants from the 3rd day have survived without sunlight that came on the 4th day? That also is not a rational view in light of creation.
The earth is not millions of years old, as evolutionists would have us to believe. We have a young earth that was created in 6 literal 24-hour period days. The word day in the creation account in Genesis and in Exodus 20 is not an extended period of time, but a 24-hour day as we know a day to be.
“In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world.” 1 John 4:17
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¹ Out With Doubt, How Old is the Earth, by Kyle Butt.
² Dismantling Evolution Seminar, 2018.